A big relief indeed for most of us who relish bread so often. The move by the food safety regulator to eliminate potassium bromate a possible carcinogen and restrict the usage of potassium iodate as an additive to bread is indeed good news for everyone.
Most of us woke up to shocking news reports that most popular breads, pavs, pizza breads that we consume almost daily have residues of cancer causing ingredients.
For a country that is primarily rice and roti eating, lifestyle changes and its impact on food habits due to shortage of time has forced most of us to increasingly opt for bread as an important part of our meals.
A sandwich for breakfast or lunch, whole wheat bread to replace rotis at lunch and dinner, gradually yet surely breads have slowly become an indispensable part of our lives.
Most of us keep bread aside as the handiest resort, when we are bored to roll out the relatively laborious process of rolling out rotis. A majority of families end up consuming at least a couple of packets of bread a week primarily as bread is easy to consume, readymade, quick and a handy food option. And the health conscious people have switched to whole wheat bread.
So the research findings by
Delhi-based environmental think thank non –profit organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is really quite disturbing. In its new study report CSE said that it had collected 38 bread and bakery samples from retail stores, bakeries and fast-food shops in Delhi for its study.
“More than 84% of samples tested were found to contain potassium bromate and/or iodate,” CSE said.
The samples included popular varieties of white bread, whole wheat/atta bread, brown bread, multigrain bread, sandwich bread, pav, bun, ready-to-eat burger bread and ready-to-eat pizza bread.
The highest level of potassium bromate and/or iodate was found in sandwich bread. This was followed by pav, bun and white bread. Even the average level of the residues was high in these product categories.
Potassium bromate and potassium iodate are chemical food additives which are used by bread makers and bakeries as flour treatment agents. These chemical additives help in breads rising well and giving it a uniform finish compared to ascorbic acid which is considered a healthier substitute.
Therefore, in many parts of the world, these additives have been banned as potassium bromate has been found to be a possible carcinogen or in simple terms could aid cancer and potassium iodate could lead to thyroid problems. But Indian laws continue to allow the use of these treatment agents.
The CSE had incidentally urged the government to ban the use of these chemicals in bakery products during preparation of the products.
Till now, India allowed the use of both chemicals in bread-making and bakeries.
While most of the bread manufactures have denied exceeding the permissible limits of the usage of these additives and some have even denied using these ingredients, the removal of these ingredients is a welcome step to ease health concerns. So now bite into your favorite sandwiches without a cause of worry.