84 % of the breads and bakery items sold in the capital city contain residues of potassium bromate , and potassium iodate. This was revealed in study conducted by Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Potassium bromate and potassium iodate are food additives. This can be used as flavour treatment agents. Potassium bromate helps achieve high rising and for uniform finish. According to CSE website safety of these additives is under cloud.
Global scientific committees have recommended not using potassium bromate in the late 80s. Many countries have since then banned the use of potassium bromate. Potassium iodate is banned in many countries as it lead to higher intake of iodine which may affect thyroid function. But India has not banned use of these chemicals in food items
According to CSE the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory, collected 38 bread samples from retail shops, bakeries and fast food outlets in Delhi during May-June last year. The samples included white bread, brown bread, multi grain bread and sandwich bread, pav bun, ready to eat burger bread and pizza bread.
The CSE says that the highest level of potassium bromate/iodate was found in sandwich bread. 32 of the 38 samples, that 84 percent of samples were found to contain potassium bromate and iodate in the range of 1.15-22.54 ppm.(parts per million.
Popular brands like Perfect Bread, Harvest Gold and Britannia were found to contain high averaniage levels of potassium bromate and iodate. According to CSE Harvest Gold Sandwich and bread had the highest concentration of the chemicals.
To double check the results the CSE says it selected four samples of the brands tested earlier and sent them to another third party laboratory in September last year.
Their results according to CSE confirmed the presence of bromate residues in Harvest Gold and Perfect Bread . They also confirmed the absence of bromate residues in breads of Defence Bakery. Britannia was the only sample in which there was no bromate. This according to CSE indicates that the residues found in their study were of potassium iodate. The results of the external lab also confirm the use of potassium iodate by the bread-making industry.
Perfect Bread, is the only brand to declare that it uses potassium bromate on its label. Harvest Gold, which tested positive in PML and Defence Bakery do not even label the class title as required by the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, alleges CSE.
The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), administered by WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),in 1989 recommended that as a general principle bromate should not be present in the food items as consumed. European countries and UK banned the use of bromate as food additives after this recommendation.