MEERUT: With widespread panic being caused following a study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which reveals that nearly 84% of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including pav and buns, had tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate, the sampling by Food Safety and Drugs Administration (FSDA) in Meerut has taken a backseat.
The authorities say that until there are instructions from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) about sampling of breads and examining them to detect the chemicals, tests cannot be conducted. The authorities are waiting for the chemicals to be banned in India before they can start testing.
JP Singh, chief food safety officer, said, “Regular sampling checks are going on in the city but we cannot collect samples of bread unnecessarily and create panic until we have any instructions from the FSSAI. Once, potassium bromate and potassium iodate are banned as food additives, as they are banned in many other countries being listed as ‘hazardous’, we can start sampling.”
The government is set to ban potassium bromate as a food additive with health minister J P Nadda asserting that it will take appropriate action following a report which claimed presence of cancer-causing chemicals in bread samples of virtually all top brands.
The CSE study claimed that while one of the chemicals was a category 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans), the other could trigger thyroid disorders but India has not banned their use.
Meerut has three big bread-making units and several other small units but authorities say unless instructions are issued, nothing can be done. “We are awaiting instructions from higher authorities and once we receive them, we will collect bread samples not only from bread-making units but also from outlets like Pizza Hut and Dominos, which use pizza base majorly,” said Singh.