The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) made an announcement today, which was the main headline in most news channels in television. This news actually came as a shock for many of us, who begin our day feeling that slices of bread can help us start the day in a healthy and light manner. The centre actually came up with the upsetting test results after evaluating 38 samples of some of the most readily available pre-packed bread packages in the Delhi Market. The test was conducted by the centre on a number of white breads or atta breads, besides sandwich breads, pavs and burger buns from around 9 companies, who have been bringing these food items to the consumers for very long. The test was conducted during the months of May and June previous year. The test revealed that 84%, which means 34 of the 38 samples tested contained chemicals that can trigger thyroid and are carcinogenic.
Tested products from manufacturers:
As mentioned earlier, the samples of 9 companies were tested by the Centre for Science and Environment. The companies are Subway, Slice of Italy, Mc Donald’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Le Marche, Britannia and Harvest Gold. The chemicals that were found in the breads are known to cause cancer in humans. The test was conducted in the pollution monitoring laboratory of the centre. In addition, a reconfirmation was also done by the centre from another laboratory before they announced about the same to media about the presence of deadly chemicals in these food items. It was found that daily consumption of just two slices of breads every day, will take us closer not just todifferent types of cancer, but also a wide range of thyroid related disorders. Also, the center found that the percentage of chemical presence in some category of breads like sandwich bread, burger buns, pavs and pizza breads are higher as compared to white breads.
What were the chemicals found?
As mentioned earlier, the centre found chemicals in close to 79% of packaged bread, bun, white bread and also in ready-to-eat pizzas, while 75% of chemicals were found in ready-to-eat burger breads. The chemicals found were Potassium Bromate and Potassium Iodate. Also, when stating about the products of companies, it was published by the centre that the products of Britannia, Harvest Gold and Perfect Bread were known to contain high level of these chemicals. But, it was also found that the sandwich bread from Harvest Gold contained these chemicals in minimal quantity. Besides these things, products of most of the fast food sellers like Domino’s, Subway, McDonal’s, Pizza Hut and KFC tested positive for the presence of these chemicals, but the good thing here is that the percentage was lower as compared to those found in bun, pav and bread. Now, you might be interested in knowing the reason behind the usage of these chemicals, let us explore.
Purpose of these chemicals in eatables:
Indian Food Regulations state that both these chemicals are used as flour treating agents in the factory of bread makers. The manufacturers are able to achieve uniform finish and high rising consistency. Also, these chemicals were earlier used from around the world by bread makers, but after the World Health Organization found the potential risks associated with these chemicals. After this announcement by WHO, many countries banned the usage of these chemicals, but in Indian food processing industry, they are yet to be banned. According to the CSE, the neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and China have already banned Potassium Iodate and Potassium Bromate like Nigeria, Canada, Brazil and Columbia. Even though European Union countries, New Zealand and Australia have already banned, their usage is being continued in the USA. In response to the report, Britannia has claimed that their products are manufactured in compliance with FSSAI.
The company further added that third party reports do not show the presence of these chemicals in their product. But, the company added that they will scrutinize the residue of these chemicals present in their products. KFC has also claimed that they have stringent rules are followed to ensure that their products are safe to use as per FSSAI guidelines. In addition, the report of Centre for Science and Environment was also stated to be false by Domino’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and Subway. Also, following the reports of CSE, FSSAI has published a decision to scrap potassium bromate from the existing list of permitted food additives. So, it is the responsibility of the consumers to be cautious about the ill-effects of the presence of these substances in the food items. So, they are recommended to avoid bread products from their diet as much as possible.