Finally, the government has banned the use of potassium bromate as a food additive after a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that the presence of the food additive in bread items was carcinogenic.
However, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said the other ingredient — potassium iodate — will be referred to an expert panel and based on the panel’s suggestion, it would be banned or allowed. "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," said FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal.
The CSE study had found that 84% of 38 brands of breads tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate, which are already banned in many countries. The CSE study said potassium bromate increases dough strength, leads to higher rising and uniform finish to baked products while potassium iodate is a flour treatment agent.
Though CSE had asked FSSAI to ban both potassium bromate and potassium iodate with immediate effect, the regulator FSSAI decided to wait till the panel report on potassium iodate.
The All India Bread Manufacturers Association, which includes major bread manufacturers Harvest Gold and Britannia, had asked FSSAI to thoroughly investigate and confirm the findings of the CSE report before undertaking any ban on bread items.