Home » FSS ACT » Bread manufacturers withdraw use toxic chemicals, cite public controversy

Bread manufacturers withdraw use toxic chemicals, cite public controversy

Centre also tested and found residues of the chemicals in buns and pizza bases in major fast food chains
Under a harsh spotlight after a damning report on carcinogenic toxins in bread, the All India Bread Manufacturers Association announced they were ‘voluntarily withdrawing’ the use of the chemicals potassium bromate and iodate. This comes on the heels of both the central government and the Food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) taking serious note of the report put out by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
The CSE report that came out on May 23, found that 84 per cent of the 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, and pavs and buns, contained potassium bromate and iodate. The Centre also tested and found residues of the chemicals in buns and pizza bases in fast food chains such as Domino’s, McDonald’s, Subway.
President of the AIBMA Ramesh Mago, told the press on Thursday that they were withdrawing the these chemicals due the public controversy. However the association said that the FSSAI had so far permitted the use of potassium bromate/iodate as food additives till the limit of 50 parts per million (ppm). The CSE report found all resides to be below the limit. Adil Hassan, MD of Harvest Gold, and member of All India Bread Manufacturers’ Association, said, “Potassium bromate and potassium iodate are considered safe and legal and also approved for widespread use by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and even the USFDA. However, given that potassium bromate has become a controversial subject and causing confusion among consumers, we have decided to voluntary withdraw use of the additives in the products.”
However, the report had called on the FSSAI to ban the chemicals altogether, as they had been in many countries, such as across the European Union and Canada, as potassium bromate/iodate have known to be potentially carcinogenic since the 1990s.
Taking serious note of the study, the union health ministry on May 23 itself asked the FSSAI to probe the issue and submit a report. FSSAI too soon recommended a ban on potassium bromate/iodate as food additives.
Industry representatives are not happy with CSE however. In a statement, ASSOCHAM said,”NGOs are free to be watchdogs, but they must realise that their reports and findings should not be targeted only at the industry… While the government is trying to move towards ease of doing business by relaxing the inspector raj, the NGO policing may harm many times.”
CSE welcomes AIBMA’s decision The CSE welcomed the bread manufacturers’ decision to stop the use of potassium bromate and potasium iodate as additives, saying this will reduce public health risk from cancer-causing chemicals.
“We have heard what the bread-making association has announced. We are happy that they have decided to stop using potassium bromate and potassium iodate within two-three days. This will reduce public health risk from these chemicals,” Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Chandra Bhushan, said. CSE researchers had pointed out that potassium bromate can possibly cause cancer and use of potassium iodate in bread- making can lead to excess intake of iodine which could affect thyroid functions.

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