Health

Cancer-causing chemical in bread: Health Ministry asks food regulator for report

The Central government is all set to ban the use of potassium bromate — the cancer-causing chemical found in bread samples tested by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) — as a food additive. Health Minister J. P. Nadda asserted that the government will take speedy and appropriate action.

The move follows the CSE report where breads of top brands were tested and the results showed that nearly 84 per cent of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including pav and buns, had the presence of potassium bromate and potassium iodate, banned in many countries and listed as “hazardous” for public health.

The CSE report said that while one of the chemicals is a category 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans), the other could trigger thyroid disorders but India has not banned their use.

The Health Minister has directed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to take-up the matter and submit a detailed report at the earliest. “The Ministry will take appropriate action accordingly,” he said.

Recommends ban

The FSSAI has maintained that it has recommended removal of potassium bromate from the list of permissible food additives to the Health Ministry. “We think that a notification will be issued in a week or two,” said FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal

Meanwhile, despite the relative quick move by the Centre to remove and ban the cancer-causing chemical the common man believes that the government has a more important role to play in ensuring the safety of the public and in particular children.

However, shops across Delhi claim that they haven’t registered any sharp dip in sales following the release of the report. Industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM), on Tuesday, came out strongly in support of bread makers, saying the use of potassium bromate is with “full knowledge” of the FSSAI.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 8:28:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/cancercausing-chemical-in-bread-health-ministry-asks-food-regulator-for-report/article8642125.ece

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