Health Minister U T Khader on Saturday issued directions to the department and the food safety inspectors to collect bread samples from various sources and get them tested.
This comes close on the heels of reports about presence of potassium bromate beyond the permitted quantity in bread.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Health Commissioner P S Vastrad said they had instructed safety inspectors to collect samples and send them for testing. The orders have been issued for packaged bread sold in bakeries, but major brands manufacturing units were not included on the first day.
Food safety joint director Dr H S Shivakumar said 13 samples were collected from malls and outlets (including bakeries) on Saturday. There will be no sample collection on Sunday, but it will continue on Monday. The samples will be sent to a premier lab for testing.
There is no target set as such, but samples from across the city are being collected. The team is collecting samples to test for potassium bromate and update (a conjugate base of iodic acid). The Health department is awaiting communication from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India on this.
The Health department officials said that the inspection was not aimed at creating fear among consumers, but bakers are not convinced. They say it will create more doubt among the people.
B S Bhat, president of the Karnataka Wrapped Bread Manufacturers Association, said whatever was being done was unwanted and unnecessary. Legally, flour millers are permitted to use 20 ppm of potassium bromate and bakers are permitted up to 50 ppm. No baker in the state uses potassium bromate, but it cannot be said that it is not added by the flour millers, he said.