Saturday , 19 October 2019
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Consumers worried as FDA silent on potassium bromate in bread


With Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) not coming out with the four bread samples that tested positive for cancer-causing potassium bromate, consumers in Goa are a worried lot as they are in dark on the bread that is safe for consumption.
Four breads (three sliced and one pizza bread) out of 29 samples had tested positive for potassium bromate in the state. With the FDA refusing to divulge the names of the brands or take them off from the shelves, consumers are scared that they may choose the harmful bread. The Navhind Times office is receiving several calls from consumers asking the identity of the bread that contain cancer-causing potassium bromate.
FDA director Salim Veljee said that once the notification banning potassium bromate by the health ministry comes in, “we will go all out to reveal names and stop the sale of such bread in shops.” Complete survey of all bread manufacturers will be undertaken to identify which are using the harmful chemical after the notification, he added. There are over 1,000 bread manufacturers in the state and the 29 samples are only a representative number, said Veljee.
The FSSAI, in Delhi, has decided to ban the use of potassium bromate in bread and recommended its removal from the list of permissible additives to the Union health ministry. The official notification of the ban is in pipeline and likely to be announced next week. Several consumers said that they are confused about the safety of slice bread in the market. There are about 10-12 popular brands in the stores, pastry shops, cafes, etc, and consumers said that the wait on the harmful bread is upsetting.
The permissible limit for potassium bromate is 50 parts per million as stipulated under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Rules / Regulation. According to the FDA, Goa bread with potassium bromate contained 25 parts per million and therefore it is within the limit. Further manufacturers have indicated in the list of ingredients on the label that potassium bromate was added.
Potassium bromated — a powerful oxidizing agent — is used for flour treatment in bread and other bakery products to give a blooming (fresh) look to the product. International agencies have classified it as possible carcinogenic to humans. Other than potassium bromate the FSSAI is also collecting evidence of potassium iodate which is also a harmful chemical. Both the chemicals in bread were detected by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

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