More reports on: Government policies

India bans potassium bromate as food additive

22 June 2016

India has banned the use of potassium bromate as a food additive, following a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that found its presence in bread could cause cancer.

The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), however, has referred potassium iodate - also claimed to be carcinogenic if used as a food additive - to a scientific panel.

"FSSAI has banned potassium bromate. A notification has been issued in this regard. As far as potassium iodate is concerned, it has been referred to a scientific panel," PTI quoted FSSAI chief executive Pawan Kumar Agarwal as saying.

Last month, the regulator had recommended to the health ministry removal of potassium bromate from the list of permissible food additives after a study by CSE.

The CSE study had found that 84 per cent of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including pav, buns, and pizza bases, tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate. These two food additives are banned in many countries and listed as "hazardous" for public health.

According to CSE, potassium bromate helps increase dough strength and leads to higher rising and uniform finish to baked products while potassium iodate is a flour treatment agent. The CSE had urged FSSAI to ban the use of potassium bromate and potassium iodate with immediate effect.

After the CSE study, a bread manufacturers' body had said they will stop using potassium bromate and potassium iodate as additives.

The All India Bread Manufacturers Association, which represents over 90 organised bread manufacturers such as Harvest Gold and Britannia, had asked FSSAI to verify the findings of the CSE report that claimed most of the breads sold in the national capital contained cancer-causing chemicals.

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