In an appreciable move, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned the use of potassium bromate across the country, in its latest notice issued on June 20, 2016, for operationalization of standards for food additives.
The ban on the use of potassium bromate as a food additive will reduce risk from cancer-causing chemicals and safeguard public health, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said and also sought a ban on potassium iodate, another chemical used as a flour treatment agent in bread-making.
The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the use of potassium bromate as a food additive following a study by CSE which had found its presence in bread as causing cancer. The national food regulator however, referred potassium iodate, also claimed to be carcinogenic used as a food additive—to a scientific panel.
“We are happy to know that the FSSAI has banned the use of potassium bromate. Our study on bread last month raised this issue and FSSAI had announced to ban it soon. We welcome the prompt action. The chemical was banned in most parts of the world but allowed in India until now. The new law will reduce public health risk from a possible cancer-causing chemical,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
“We had also recommended a ban on the use of potassium iodate as a flour treatment agent in bread-making. The industry has already declared not to use both these chemicals in public interest. We hope that the FSSAI soon prohibits use of potassium iodate as well,” added Bhushan.
The CSE study in May had highlighted the use and presence of residues of potassium bromate or potassium iodate in bread-making in India. The study said these chemicals have been banned in several countries worldwide due to their possible adverse health effects.
Potassium bromate is a known possible cancer-causing chemical while the use of potassium iodate in bread can lead to excess iodine intake which could be linked to certain thyroid-related diseases, the CSE study had said.
Subsequently, the All India Bread Manufacturer’s Association representing the organized industry had declared its intention to withdraw the use of potassium bromate and potassium iodate in bread-making.
Some of the points to ponder, CSE says:
• The move will significantly reduce risk and safeguard public health
• The potassium bromate is a possible human carcinogen used in bread-making in India, but banned in most parts of the world
• FSSAI should also ban use of potassium iodate in bread-making at the earliest