Food regulator set to ban ‘cancerous’ bread additive

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The country’s food regulator has recommended to the health ministry that potassium bromatebe removed from the list of permissible additives.
The move to drop the additive from the list comes after a study by Centre for Science and Environment ( CSE ) suggested presence of potassium bromate, which has been identified as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organisation (WHO ), in 84% of 38 com monly available pre-packaged breads and ready-to-eat pizzas.
“Potassium bromate is one of 11,000 food additives that are allowed in the food business.After careful consideration, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permissible additives,” FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said, adding that it would be banned after it is removed from the permissible additives list.
He said the notification removing the additive from the list would be issued by the health ministry which may take a week or two.
The food regulator is also poring over evidence to take a decision on the use of potassium iodate. CSE had also claimed that products tested by them had potassium iodate, which can affect thyroid function. CSE said potassium bromate typically increased dough strength, leading to higher rising and uniform finish to baked products, while potassium iodate is a flour treatment agent.
The environment and health NGO welcomed FSSAI’s action. “CSE appreciates the authority’s proactive move in deciding to examine the use of potassium iodate in bread-making,” it said in a statement.
Health minister J P Nadda said he has asked FSSAI to examine the issue and fast-track its report and promised to take immediate action. “I have told FSSAI to take matter seriously and submit a report,” he said.