Laboratory reports on samples sent by the food and drugs department have revealed that around one-third of the bread being produced and distributed in Indore does not contain potassium bromate and iodate – both carcinogens.
A study released by the Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment in May found that the two chemicals, which can reportedly cause cancer and thyroid disorders, are used extensively in the country’s bread industry. The discovery led to inspections at various places across the country, including Indore.
Officials said laboratory reports pertaining to 10 of the total 30 samples sent from Indore by the state food and drugs department are out, and have tested negative for harmful contaminants. Reports for the remaining 20 samples will come later.
“We sent around 30 samples from prominent bakeries in the city. They were tested for adulteration as well as potassium bromate and iodate. However, the test reports we received so far have shown that they are free of the chemicals,” said Manish Swamy, a food inspector.
According to the food and drugs department, Indore has 20 prominent and 40-50 smaller bakeries. Of these, a significant portion of the bread market is controlled by four units – three of which have already been given a clean chit by the department.
Though all the test reports are yet to arrive, the food and drugs department is contending that the bread being sold in the city is largely safe.
Meanwhile, food and drugs department officials have launched a crackdown on mills and food manufacturing units ahead of the monsoon. They have been asked to ensure that drains are fixed, pests eliminated and proper hygiene maintained – so the food doesn’t get contaminated.
Samples were also taken from wheat and gram flour mills. “Many times, the adulteration takes place at mills. We just wanted to be sure that a strict approach is followed there as well,” said Swamy.