In a particularly distressing news, a finding by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reveals that the breads used in burgers, pizzas and other edibles at popular food outlets McDonald’s, Domino’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Slice of Italy contain cancer-causing substances.
According to CSE, the breads contain toxins such as potassium bromate and potassium iodate. Potassium iodate, particularly, causes thyroid disorders.
The use of potassium bromate in foods is banned in many countries, but in US and India it is used as a flour improver.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allows the use of potassium bromate in foods but has now stated that it will remove it from its list of permitted substances following the CSE report. It also said that it will look into the case against potassium iodate and then take a decision.
CSE’s report is startling.
Only in all four tested products of Defence Bakery (Whole Wheat Bread, Jumbo Slices Brown, Brown Bread, Multigrain), the CSE did not find any residue, and only Perfect Bread mentions that it uses potassium bromate in the product package.
“High levels of potassium bromate/iodate were found in sandwich bread, pav, bun and white bread. Products of Perfect Bread, Harvest Gold and Britannia were those with higher levels,” the CSE report said.
Meanwhile, some of the outlets and the bread manufacturers in the line of fire have denied the findings.
CSE says that Domino’s is the only food outlet which accepted it was using breads laced with the chemicals. But Domino’s pointed out that it was doing so as per the FSSAI regulations.
“We only use additive/ingredients duly approved under Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Act (FSSAI) in all our preparations (across all our restaurants),” Domino’s said.
That they too were following FSSAI norms related to use of such chemicals in breads was pointed out by bread manufacturer’s association.
“FSSAI’s regulations permit the use of potassium bromate and/or potassium iodate at 50 ppm max for bread and at 20 ppm max in maida for bakery purpose under food products standards,” All India Bread Manufacturers’ Association president Ramesh Mago said.
McDonald’s India refuted the CSE report in strong words: “The claims made by CSE in its press release and report are completely baseless.”
Health Minister J.P. Nadda has ordered a probe in the matter.