Apparently even our daily bread can become a source of cancer when bakers try hard to make bread look good. For a long time bakers have been adding a bit of potassium bromate and potassium iodate to treat the flour used in baking bread because these two additives make the bread look whiter and give it just the right elasticity. The use of these two additives are banned in several countries because they are listed as “hazardous” for public health. A study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) revealed that nearly 84 per cent of 38 brands of pre-packaged bread in New Delhi had tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate. The CSE study has made many bakers in New Delhi aware of the hazards of using these two additives, and they have stopped using them. However, nothing significant seems to have happened in the Northeast. The State public health laboratory in Bamunimaidam of Guwahati is reported to have received about 20 samples till Monday. Food alyst Anupam Gogoi, who heads the laboratory, has said that it takes 14 days to alyse a sample. Some of the samples are from Assam and others are from Aruchal Pradesh. But States like Manipur, galand, Meghalaya and Mizoram have remained more or less indifferent to such tests and hence to the health hazards posed to consumers. This is rather unfortute for the region considering that the All India Bread Manufacturers Association had announced the withdrawal of the use of these chemicals last Friday. How long should it take the authorities in the north-eastern States to make bakers follow suit in public interest?
When Bread Causes Cancer