Carcinogenic chemicals found in top bread brands, probe ordered

Bread samples of almost all the leading brands in Delhi contained toxic chemicals which may cause cancer and thyroid disorders, according to non-profit Centre for Science and Environment, or CSE. The Union Health Ministry has ordered a probe into the matter.

The report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) alleged, approximately 84 percent of the 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads including buns and pav tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate. These chemicals are reportedly banned in various countries as they are clearly listed as "hazardous" for public health.

Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director, CSE said, "Just two slices of bread every day is enough to put us at a higher risk of thyroid and cancer."

Health Minister JP Nadda said,"I have told my officials to report to me on an urgent basis. There is no need to panic. Very soon we will come out with the (probe) report."

One of the chemicals is a category 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans) and the other could lead to thyroid disorders but India has not banned their use, said the report.

The bread samples which were tested included leading brands such as Harvest Gold, Britannia and the fast food chains -Pizza Hut, KFC, Domino's, McDonald’s, Slice of Italy and Subway.

Meanwhile, KFC, Britannia, McDonald's, Subway and Domino's denied that these chemicals were used in their products. Other brands have not yet responded.