Study Material | Test Series
Drishti IAS
call1800-121-6260 / 011-47532596
Drishti The Vision Foundation
(A unit of VDK Eduventures Pvt. Ltd.)
mains Test Series 2018
Q. Carcinogenic chemicals in bread: Comment on the recent test done by Centre for Science and Environment on variants of bread.
May 25, 2016 Related to : GS-Paper 2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has conducted test on variants of breads like white bread, whole wheat or atta bread, sandwich breads, pizza breads, burger buns and pavs from various companies like Harvest Gold, Britannia, Le Marche, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's etc. As a result 84 percent of the samples were found to be laced with carcinogenic chemicals.

Key findings of tests-

  • 84 percent of the bread samples were found to be laced with carcinogenic and thyroid triggering chemicals, particularly Potassium Bromate and Potassium Iodate.

  • The content of chemicals was found to be on the higher side in sandwich breads followed by white bread, pizza bread, pavs and burger buns as opposed to whole wheat breads.

  • Products of Perfect Bread, Harvest Gold and Britannia were found to contain high levels of Potassium Bromate and Iodate.

  • Products of all popular fast food outlets selling pizza and burger like KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Subway and Domino's are tested positive for Potassium Bromate or Iodate, but at levels lower than those found in bread, pav and bun.

Its Impact-

  • Potassium Bromate is a chemical which is classified as a category 2B carcinogen by WHO and it can cause cancer to human beings.

  • Potassium Iodate is a chemical which can contribute to thyroid-related diseases to human beings.

Analysis-

  • The use of Potassium Bromate and Potassium Iodate as flour treatment agents in bakery products has been banned in several countries such as the UK, EU nations, Canada, Australia, China. 

  • However, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) regulations allow the use both chemicals in bread-making with certain conditions.

  • As these chemicals are harmful to human beings, hence there is need of revising the foods standards in India. And it is more urgent because consumption of breads and other packaged food items in the country is on the rise.

  • Hence India needs to very effective mechanism in maintaining the high food standards. For that there is need of upgrading and expanding government’s food testing mechanisms. And also more laboratories, more safety inspectors and greater number of periodic tests need to be enhanced.

Conclusion-

Both the chemicals have been termed hazardous to human health by leading global health advisories and bodies like the WHO and India is permitting these additives that are banned in most countries across the globe. These aspects throw light on the mechanism of standardization and formulation by FSSAI and its efficacy. Hence there is urgent need to revise the functioning of FSSAI and also India must enhance its health and food standards.


Helpline Number : 87501 87501
To Subscribe Newsletter and Get Updates.