Samples of all top brands of bread in Delhi contain cancer-causing chemicals, according to a study released on 22 May. This revealation, after the infamous Maggi controversy, has alerted the Union home ministry which has immediately ordered an investigation.
The study was conducted by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). It states 84 percent of 38 available brands of pre- packaged breads, including pav and buns, from across Delhi contain remains of potassium bromate, potassium iodate and in some cases both.
While potassium bromate is a Class 2B carcinogenic, potassium iodate can lead to thyroid disorders, increase autoimmune thyroiditis and risk of thyroid cancer, but India has not banned them, states the report.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has deleted potassium bromate from the list of acceptable additives and it is probing proof against potassium iodate before checking its use.
CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) has tested samples of pre-packaged breads, pavs and buns, ready-to-eat burger breads and ready-to-eat pizza breads of popular fast food outlets from Delhi.
The samples tested included brands such as Britannia, Harvest Gold and fast food chains—KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Subway, McDonald’s and Slice of Italy. Britannia, KFC, Domino’s, McDonald’s and Subway denied these chemicals are used in their products, while the other brands did not comment.
Union health minister JP Nadda said, ” There is no need to panic as of now. I have told my officials to report to me asap. Shortly we will come out with the probe report.”
Meanwhile, usage of potassium bromate and/or iodate are banned in many countries, including Australia, parts of Europe, Canada and China, among others. The US and India have no such ban in place.