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Eatables like bread, buns, etc. contain Class 2B carcinogenic compound

According to a study of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), 84% of bread and bakery samples collected from across Delhi contain residues of potassium bromate, potassium iodate or both. Potassium bromate is said to be a Class 2B carcinogenic, which means it may cause cancer while potassium iodate can lead to thyroid disorders.

The result was released after the analysis by Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) at CSE that collected 38 bread and bakery samples from retail shops, bakeries and fast food outlets in Delhi during May-June 2015 and tested them for percentage of potassium bromate and potassium iodate.

These chemicals were popularly used across the world till the late 1980s and early 1990s, but later efforts were made to minimise their use following evidence pointing towards adverse impact on the health of consumers.

Potassium bromate (KBrO3)

  1. Uses of KBrO3
  • It acts to strengthen the dough and achieve high rising and a uniform finish.
  • It also used as an oxidizing agent.
  1. Regulation of KBrO3
  • It is classified as a category 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
  • It has been banned from use in food products in the European Union, Argentina, Brazil,Canada, Nigeria, South Korea, Peru, Sri Lanka, China and some other countries.
  • United States of America has not banned its use.
  • Japanese baked goods manufacturers stopped using potassium bromate voluntarily in 1980; however, Yamazaki Baking, resumed its use in 2005, claiming they had new production methods to reduce the amount of the chemical which remained in the final product.

Potassium iodate (KIO3)

  1. Uses of KIO3
  • It is used for iodination of table salt to prevent iodine deficiency
  • It is used by bread makers as flour treatment agents.
  • It is used as a source for dietary iodine.
  • It is also an ingredient in some baby formula milk
  • It may be used to protect against accumulation of radioactive iodinein the thyroid by saturating the body with a stable source of iodine prior to exposure.
  • It is used as radiation protector
  1. Regulation of KIO3
  • WHO has approved its use as radiation protector, as an alternative to potassium iodide, which has poor self life in hot and humid condition
  • UK, Singapore, UAE, some states of USA permits its storage to meet emergency in case of radiation attack or pollution.
  • However, US FDA has not approved its use as thyroid blocker.

Codex Alimentarius

  • Is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety.
  • Its texts are developed and maintained by theCodex AlimentariusCommission, a body that was established in early November 1961 by the FAO and was later joined by WHO in June 1962.
  • It is recognized by the WTOas an international reference point for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection
  • It covers all foods, whether processed, semi-processed or raw.
  • It also contains general standards covering matters such as food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues.
  • It also lays procedures for assessing the safety of foods derived from biotechnology.
  • It also contains guidelines for the management of official i.e. governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods.
  • It is published in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • Is an agency of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulationand supervision of food safety.
  • It is a statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • It is led by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government from amongst the persons of eminence in the field of food science or from amongst the persons from the administration who have been associated with the subject and is either holding or has held the position of not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Headquarter- New Delhi
  • It works through 4 referral laboratories and 72 local laboratories located throughout India
  • FSSAI has been mandated by the FSS Act, 2006 for performing the following functions:
  1. Framing of Regulations to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.
  2. Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
  3. Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
  4. To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition.
  5. Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
  6. Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
  7. Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.
  8. Contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards.
  9. Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.
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