New Delhi/Nagpur: More than 80% of 38 popular brands of breads, buns and ready-to-eat burger and pizza tested positive for potassium bromate and iodate, a study by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment says.
The first of the two chemicals is a category 2B carcinogen – that can possibly cause cancer – and the second is known to trigger thyroid disorder.
Indian manufacturers use potassium bromate and potassium iodate for treating flour while making bread, the study said.
“The use of these chemicals in the bread-making sector is banned in many countries because they are listed as hazardous for public health. India does not ban their use,” a statement released by the Centre for Science and Environment said.
The CSE recommended the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ban the use of potassium bromate in making bread with immediate effect. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) should also amend relevant available standards, CSE said.
“We found 84% samples positive with potassium bromate/iodate. We re-confirmed the presence of potassium bromate/iodate in a few samples through an external third-party laboratory. We checked labels and talked to industry and scientists,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE and head of CSE lab.
“Our study confirms the widespread use of potassium bromate/iodate as well as presence of bromate/iodate residues in the final product.”
The study was conducted by the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) of CSE.
This is the second major food scandal in the country. The country’s food regulator banned the popular instant noodle snack Maggi last year after several state laboratories found excess levels of lead. The ban was lifted by the Bombay high court last November.