Why Bread, Pizzas and Burgers May Cause You Cancer | worldofchemicals.com

Why Bread, Pizzas and Burgers May Cause You Cancer!

Why Bread, Pizzas and Burgers May Cause You Cancer!

Breakfast is the first meal of a day and eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day's work. It is has been proved that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast foods vary widely from place to place, but often include a carbohydrate such as grains or cereals, fruit, vegetables, a protein food such as eggs, sweetened breads, muffins and even other bread items are common examples of Western breakfast foods.

Among all other common breakfast food items bread is the most common breakfast item.Bread is basically a staple food prepared from dough of flour and water, usually by baking process. It also is eaten as a snack, or used as an ingredient in other culinary preparations, such as fried items coated in crumbs to prevent sticking, or the bland main component of a bread pudding, or stuffings.

There are many combinations and proportions of types of flour and other ingredients, and also of different traditional recipes and modes of preparation of bread.

Types of bread

  • White bread
  • Brown bread
  • Flatbread
  • Wheat bread
  • Gluten free bread etc.

Chemical composition and nutrition facts

Following are the list of chemical and nutrients present on white bread

  • Total Fat: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 491 mg
  • Potassium: 115 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 49 g
  • Proteins: 9 g

General chemical composition of bread

  • Ferulic acid
  • Phenolic acids
  • Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside
  • p-coumaric acid glucoside

Use of chemical food additives is a common practice in packed and processed foods. One such additives are potassium bormate and potassium iodate. Generally these two chemicals used to treat flour for bread and bakery products to give high rise and uniform finish.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) an indian based not-for-profit public interest research and advocacy organization found residues of potassium bromate/iodate in over 84 per cent of bread and bakery samples.

Why to avoid potassium bromate/ iodate from baked foods

Many countries across the world have banned the use of potassium bromate as a flour treatment agent. The World Health Organization (WHO), its expert scientific committees and associated organizations have recommended not using it due to detectable residues of bromate in the end product and relation of potassium bromate with cancer.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), associated with the WHO, is also classified potassium bromate in 1999 as Class 2B, i.e. possibly carcinogenic (cancer causing) to humans.

Its use may result in a daily intake of iodine that is five or ten times than the usually recommended (100-200 μg). This intake is much different through iodate that is added at 10ppm level to iodize salt which is consumed less. Potassium iodate is not recommended to be used as a flour treatment agent in several parts of the world. In contrast it is not found in the approved list of food additives in these countries.

India also in the list of countries which allows potassium bromate and potassium iodate and it is as per the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Additives) Regulations, 2011.

Potassium bromate and/or iodate standard levels

  • Maximum level of use of potassium bromate and/or iodate in bread is set at 50ppm.
  • Maximum level of use of potassium bromate in flour for bakery is set at 20 ppm.
  • Maximum use limit of potassium bromate is set at 20 ppm in maida (refined wheat flour), if used for bakery.

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) provides Standards for few bread variants. Potassium bromate/potassium iodate is allowed for use in white bread and wheat meal bread. For protein-fortified bread and milk bread potassium bromate is allowed. Effectively potassium bromate can be used at up to 50 ppm levels.

Why does companies preferring Potassium bromate/ iodate

It is clear that potassium bromate is widely used and the main reason for preferring it over other alternatives is the quality of results it provides. It is an oxidizing agent which typically increases dough strength, leads to higher rising and uniform finish to baked products.

There are other chemicals which can be used as alternatives to these chemicals


[1] © From, http://www.cseindia.org/userfiles/bread-and-Bakery-Products-Policy-Brief.pdf

To contact the author mail: articles@worldofchemicals.com

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