Potassium Bromate/Iodate in Bread and Bakery Product: CSE study results and recommendations

Use of chemical food additives is a common practice in packaged and processed foods. Not all of them are safe. One such additive is potassium bromate (KBrO3) which, until over two decades ago, was routinely used in most parts of the world to treat flour for bread and bakery products. KBrO3 helped give the product a high rise and uniform finish. Its use as a flour treatment agent was allowed based on the assumption that no residues of bromate would be found in the final product.In the light of this, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) decided to check for levels of potassium bromate in breads and bakery products produced in India. Tests conducted by CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) found residues of potassium bromate/iodate in over 84 per cent of bread and bakery samples sourced from Delhi. CSE also got few samples tested by an external third-party laboratory, which confirmed the presence of bromate residues.