The government on Monday banned the use of potassium bromate as a food additive following a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study that found it causes cancer.
The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), however, has referred potassium iodate – also claimed to be carcinogenic – to a scientific panel.
Last month, the regulator had recommended to the Health Ministry removal of potassium bromate from the list of permissible food additives after the study by the CSE.
The study had found that 84 percent of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including pav and buns, 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 typically increases dough strength, leads to higher rising and uniform finish to baked products while potassium iodate is a flour treatment agent.
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.