PANAJI: Goans will know for sure by Monday whether the bread they eat is free from poisonous, cancer causing chemicals. Director of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bambolim, Salim Veljee said that the laboratory report on the presence of potassium bromate and potassium iodate in bread and bakery products is expected to be out on May 30. The report will reveal whether the local bread is safe for consumption, he said.
“Since May 23, when news broke out that bread in New Delhi contained potentially harmful chemicals, our food inspectors have collected bread samples from various bakers, patisseries, cafes and grocery stores in the state. The analysis of the samples will be out on Monday,” said Veljee.
There was no instruction from FDA Bhavan or higher authorities in the government to check the safety of local bread but our office is doing it anyway, said Veljee.
Meanwhile, members of the All Goa Bakers Association (AGBA) said that none of them use any harmful additives to make bread.
President of AGBA Agapito Menezes said, “Our ‘poders’ have not even heard of these chemicals. The cost of ‘pao’ is only Rs three. How can they afford these chemicals?” “Goan bakers – ‘poders’ and local bakeries – bake bread traditionally and do it two or three times a day. They don’t need to use chemical preservatives because they do not have excess production,” he pointed out.
There are about 1,200 bakers in Goa of which about 300 are members of AGBA, but Menezes said that he was confident that bread in the state is healthy and free from toxic chemicals. Ravindra Gaitonde, partner, Café Central, Panaji, said that their bread is absolutely natural and free from any preservative. “We need to file a defamation suit against the report because it cannot generalise on quality and create doubt in the minds of people,” he said.
An owner of a Panaji-based pastry chain said that the only ingredients that go into the making of bread are yeast, flour, salt, oil and sugar. No harmful chemicals are used, she said. A commercial sandwich bread manufacturer said that even large bakers do not use any chemicals in production.
New Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a research organisation, released a study that found potassium bromate – a possible cancer-causing chemical – in 38 samples of popular bread brands in the national capital city. The study also found the presence of potassium iodate, a thyroid inducer. Both chemicals are used as additives to soften bread.
Usage of chemical is permitted up to limits of 50 ppm (parts per million) of bromate in bread. However, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has now decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of additives and is studying the usage of potassium iodate.