Breads, pavs, buns and pizza bases contain cancer-causing chemicals, says latest CSE report

According to the report, 84 per cent of bread and bakery samples collected from across Delhi contain residues of potassium bromate, potassium iodate or both.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 24, 2016 3:09 am
bread causes cancer report, cse report on breads, cancer chemicals in breads buns pizzas, Centre for Science and Environment, carcinogenic chemicals in breads, potassium bromate, potassium iodate While potassium bromate is said to be a Class 2B carcinogenic, which means it may cause cancer, potassium iodate can lead to “thyroid disorders, increase the incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis and increase the risk of thyroid cancer.” (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Do you know the bread you consume can increase the risk of cancer? And no, this is not restricted to just white bread, but brown, multigrain, wholewheat and even your pavs, buns and pizza breads.

According to a study released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), 84 per cent of bread and bakery samples collected from across Delhi contain residues of potassium bromate, potassium iodate or both. While potassium bromate is said to be a Class 2B carcinogenic, which means it may cause cancer, potassium iodate can lead to “thyroid disorders, increase the incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis and increase the risk of thyroid cancer,” the report said.

But why are these chemicals used in breads? The report says potassium bromate (KBrO3) helps achieve high rising and a uniform finish, and the potassium iodate (KIO3) is used by breadmakers as flour treatment agents. The chemicals were popularly used across the world till the the late 1980s and early 1990s, when there was a conscious effort to minimise their use following evidence pointing towards adverse impact on the health of consumers.

To find out if potassium bromate and potassium iodate are present in different types of breads, the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) at CSE collected 38 bread and bakery samples from retail shops, bakeries and fast food outlets in Delhi during May-June 2015. 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 brands included many well-known bread brands as well as seven fast food chains, both domestic as well as international.

The study found that 84 per cent (32/38) samples were found with potassium bromate or iodate in the range of 1.15-22.54 parts per million (ppm). Around 79 per cent (19/24) samples of packaged bread, all samples of white bread, pav, bun and ready-to-eat pizza bread and 75 per cent (3/4) samples of ready-to-eat burger bread were positive.

“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,” says the report. The report says most bread brands do not even name the two chemicals in the list of ingredients.

According to the report, the use of potassium bromate and/or iodate has been banned in several countries across the world, including Australia, significant parts of Europe, Canada and China, among others. The US and India have no such ban in place, with the former asking bakers to voluntarily avoid using it.

The CSE recommends that the The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) “should prohibit the use of potassium bromate in making bread and bakery products with immediate effect. Considering that it can cause cancer, is banned in most parts of the world, and has healthy alternatives, there is no reason why this chemical should be allowed, specifically when residues are found to be present in the end-product.” It suggests a similar ban for the use of potassium iodate as well.

Reacting to the CSE report, Health Minister JP Nadda said, “We are seized of the matter. I have told my officials to report to me on an urgent basis. There is no need to panic. Very soon we will come out with the (probe) report.”

Food regulator FSSAI Monday said it has decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permitted additives while it is examining evidence against potassium iodate before restricting its use.

 

With PTI inputs.

For news updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & Instagram

For all the latest Lifestyle News, download Indian Express App

  1. G
    Gopi
    May 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm
    Supremely CORRUPT of India should take cognizance and immediately STAY to release of that report that is inimical to the corporate lobby.
    Reply
    1. A
      ak dev
      May 23, 2016 at 3:59 pm
      India's potion growth is on increase in spite of having high level of poverty, highly polluted air, contaminated water, adulterated food, pesticides in vegetables, unhygienic hospitals and fake medicines. That's only possible when Indians have developed high level of immunity.
      Reply
      1. G
        Gairepaga
        May 23, 2016 at 5:05 pm
        Its highly deplorable to see FSSAI and other govt agencies quietly sleep EDUCATED MURDERES PLAY WITH ORDINERY CITIZENS. IN HYDERABAD, EVERY THING IS TOXICATED MILK, OIL, MAS, ALL READYMADE FOODS. NORMAL CITIZENS SAY THAT THERE IS WELL PLANNED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY GOING ON BY ADING POISON IN ALL EATABLES BY EDUCATED ROGUES. ALMOST ALL HYDERABAD GOONS KNOW ABOUT IT. GOVT MUST PRESS INVESTIGATION N ARREST CULPRITS N OPENLY HANG THEM
        Reply
        1. R
          Raghavan
          May 23, 2016 at 11:49 pm
          Countries like Canada and the US have already stopped using Potium Bromate decades ago. Instead, the baking industry uses Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and some Azodicarbonamide (ADA). Most manufacturers use just Vitamin C to attain stability during the fermentation process. It is a good oxidizing agent and the level of dosage in flour can be adjusted depending the process and product. The dosage can vary from 50 PPM to 200 PPM depending on the process. It takes the will and leadership from the industry to detect and avoid carcinogens and find alternative means of achieving superior products.
          Reply
          1. R
            Raghavan
            May 24, 2016 at 12:00 am
            The Baking industry in India can also initiate on its own to fortify the flour with Vitamin B1, B2 etc., if they are not doing it already. Small doses of Folic Acid can be added to the flour (Folic Acid generally prevents birth of deformed babies). These very small dosages and mostly are retained through the process.
            Reply
            1. G
              Gurdeep Johar
              May 23, 2016 at 3:19 pm
              As regards potium iodate (KIO3), the CSE report seems to be controversial. This is because KIO3 is being used all over the world including India for the iodization of common salt for the prevention of iodine deficiency disorders. Most of the manufacturers of common salt in India are ought to add KIO3 (or potium iodide, KI) to enrich the salt with at least 30 parts per million of iodine. For this much of iodine much more quany of KIO3 is needed. How it can cause cancer or any thyroid problem. In fact, KIO3 is being added to eliminate the chances of thyroid problems. However, I can not say any thing about potium bromated (KBrO3) at present.
              Reply
              1. H
                Harvinder Singh
                May 23, 2016 at 3:29 pm
                informative article
                Reply
                1. W
                  wahabi
                  May 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm
                  No need to panic , we will come out with a report. That is what government could do? Whether it is carbide in Mangoes and Bananas or this . The country is doomed.
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments