Health Ministry probes, Are breads, Burgers, Pizza containing noxious chemicals?

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New Delhi.  A recent report says that most of the bread available in the market is laced with noxious chemicals that can be the cause of thyroid disorders and cancer.

The non-profit Centre for Science and Environment or CSE conducted a series of tests by with 38 samples picked from the Delhi outlets for Potassium Bromate and Potassium lodate, “More than 84% samples came out positive for potassium bromate or iodate. The samples found high levels of chemicals, more in white bread and less in multi-grain breads.”

Potassium Bromate and Potassium lodata were used in baking flour. But after warnings from World Health Organization, more than 40 countries including Sri Lanka and China banned its use. However, these chemicals were not banned in India.

Products of five popular multinational fast-food outlets — KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Subway, McDonald's and Slice of Italy — were also found to contain high levels of the chemicals, CSE said. 

On behalf of the bread industry, the All India Bread Manufacturers Association gave a statement, saying it was yet to see the CSE report. But it added that "Food safety and Standards Authority of India's regulations permit the use of Potassium Bromate and/or Potassium Iodate at 50 ppm Max for bread and at 20 ppm Max for Bakery purpose".

The CSE study showed that higher levels of the two chemicals were found in sandwich bread, pav, bun and white bread.

According to the study, the products of Harvest Gold, Britannia and Perfect Bread had higher levels of the chemicals.

Reacting to the CSE report, Health Minister JP Nadda said, "I have voiced my officials to report to me on an urgent basis. There is no need to panic. Very soon we will come out with the (probe) report."