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Most bread, pizza, burger, buns in India have carcinogens in them: Report

80% of 38 popular brands harmful, says report.

By Dileep Thekkethilbread

A report published by the Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi, is a real eye-opener for many consumers as the researchers found harmful cancer-causing elements in bread.

Even though bread is a grain food that provides many nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the study detected the presence of potassium bromate and iodate in bread, buns and ready-to-eat burger and pizza, which are harmful to health.

Potassium bromate (KBrO3) is a food additive that can help bread dough hold together, the agent is a proven 2B type carcinogenic that can cause renal cell tumors, mesotheliomas of the peritoneum, and follicular cell tumors of the thyroid. It can also cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, kidney failure, oligonuria, anuria, deafness, vertigo, and hypotension, said the report.

The study found that more than 80% of 38 popular brands of bread, buns and ready-to-eat burger and pizza tested positive for potassium bromate and iodate.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) permits the use of potassium bromate and/or potassium iodate in bread and bakery products and the permitted level of use is 50 mg/Kg in bread.

The main objective of the study was to analyze the different brands of bread available in Delhi for the presence of potassium bromate/iodate. The highest concentration of potassium bromate/iodate was found in sandwich bread, pav, bun and white bread.

Centre for Science and Environment recommends banning of potassium bromate in bread and bakery products, like in many other countries.

The study was conducted by the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) of CSE.

Earlier, the popular instant noodles Maggi was banned by the food regulator after laboratories in different states found excess levels of lead and monosodium glutamate. The product is back in stores after the Mumbai High Court lifted the ban.