Why Is Bromated Flour Banned?

Potassium bromate, a common oxidizing agent used in commercial baking to fortify and enhance dough and encourage rising, is included in bromated flour. Potassium bromate is an ingredient in some types of flour sold in supermarkets for domestic consumption. Studies conducted in the 1980s indicated that bromated flour promotes numerous types of cancer in laboratory rats, which has led to concerns regarding the substance. Because of this, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies potassium bromate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and several governments, including those of the European Union, Canada, Brazil, Peru, and China, have prohibited bromated wheat.

The FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily quit using bromated flour in the United States, but the majority of them haven’t. As long as potassium bromate doesn’t exceed.0075 parts per 100 parts of the flour’s weight, or 750 parts per million, the FDA continues to approve the use of the flour. The only other restriction on the use of bromated flour is a Californian rule that mandates a store notice on any baked goods made with the ingredient if they contain more of the chemical than a predetermined amount. Because of this, the majority of bakeries in California now use flours devoid of bromate.

As the dough bakes, potassium bromate is meant to be cooked out of the bread, eliminating any potential health risks. However, some of it might not, and any quantity you consume could be hazardous. Ascorbic acid has been used in place of potassium bromate by some manufacturers since it offers the same baking benefits without the associated hazards.

Over ten years ago, many major grocery chains that produce their own baked goods made the switch to non-bromated flour, including Pepperidge Farm, Pillsbury, and Best Foods, Inc. (brands include Arnold and Entenmann’s). Look for “potassium bromate” or “bromated flour” on the ingredient lists when purchasing commercial bread or baked products. Products containing them should be avoided.

Some well-known flour brands, like Gold Medal, provide both bromated and unbromated goods. (The General Mills website has a list of these.) Bromated flour and potassium bromate are listed as “inappropriate ingredients for food” on Whole Foods’ website, and the company does not sell any products containing them. According to what I’ve read, bromated flour may be used to make some fast food rolls and buns. It’s also supposedly a common ingredient in pizza dough. (Some major companies, including Pizza Hut and Domino’s, don’t employ it.)

Why is bromated flour harmful?

A flour “improver” called potassium bromate (KBrO3) strengthens dough, enabling greater oven spring and higher rising in the oven. Potassium bromate, sometimes known as “bromate,” is a slow-acting oxidant that functions during the mixing, fermentation, and proving phases as well as having a significant residual effect during the initial stages of baking. While ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium peroxide, potassium and calcium iodate, and azodicarbonamide (ADA) all function quickly to oxidize substances, they all relinquish their action during mixing and proofing. When used within the permitted ranges (15-30ppm), bromate is totally consumed during baking and leaves no residue on the final product. A residual amount, however, will remain if too much is used or the bread is not baked for long enough or at a high enough temperature.

The main issue with using bromate in baking is that it has been shown to cause cancer in test animals. In 1982, it was discovered that it might cause tumors in rats. But rather than outright prohibiting bromate, the FDA has, with varying degrees of effectiveness, only advised bakers to avoid using it since 1991.

Many nations have outlawed bromate, including Canada in 1994 and the United Kingdom in 1990. In addition, bromate was classified as a carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 in 1991. Because of this, baked goods sold in California must include a store-level cancer warning if their bromate content exceeds a particular threshold. As a result, the majority of bakeries in California have shifted to bromate-free procedures.

Where is bromate flour prohibited?

  • Many packaged baked goods include flour that may be carcinogenic to humans because of the addition of potassium bromate.
  • Several nations, including Brazil, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, forbid the use of potassium bromate.
  • The FDA hasn’t examined potassium bromate since at least 1973, but it is still permitted for use in the United States despite health concerns.

A flour that may include potassium bromate, an ingredient related to cancer, is used to make a lot of packaged baked goods. Many American businesses have adopted the chemical because it strengthens dough and enables it to rise higher.

More than 130 distinct items, including Best Choice Wheat Sliced Bread, Gomez Flour Tortillas, Hy Vee Blueberry Crisp, and Balducci’s Sugar Cookies, have been identified by EWG as containing potassium bromate. Despite being prohibited in other nations due to health concerns, this additive is widely used and permitted in the United States.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared potassium bromate is a potential human carcinogen in 1999, confirming findings from many research.

In laboratory experiments, it increased the incidence of benign and malignant tumors in the thyroid and the peritoneum, the membrane lining the abdominal cavity, in mice exposed to it. Later studies revealed that consuming potassium bromate caused appreciable increases in the thyroid, kidney, and other organ cancers in the animals.

Numerous nations, including the UK, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union, forbid the use of potassium bromate due to these health issues. In California, foods containing potassium bromate must bear a warning label.

Despite a wealth of research suggesting that potassium bromate may be harmful to human health, its usage in food sold in the United States is nevertheless permitted.

Since baking should completely convert potassium bromate into potassium bromide, a comparable but non-carcinogenic chemical, the food industry has long contended that potassium bromate shouldn’t be a worry in baked goods. However, tests in the UK revealed that potassium bromate is still visible after baking, with levels identified in all six unwrapped loaves and seven out of 22 packaged breads.

The Food and Drug Administration gave potassium bromate its initial green light for use in the United States in the 1960s. The additive was the subject of a planned literature review by the FDA in 1973, but it’s unclear if the review was ever finished, and the chemical hasn’t been evaluated since.

California has made steps to inform residents of the dangers of potassium bromate in the absence of federal action. Since the ingredient is on the state’s Proposition 65 list, items containing it are required to bear a cancer warning. However, no additional regulatory body has taken any action to control or get rid of potassium bromate from grocery store shelves.

Our broken food chemical review system

The U.S. food additive approval process consistently fails to keep Americans safe and needs to be updated if it is to shield us from compounds like potassium bromate that have the potential to cause cancer.

Congress is debating legislation that would end the regulatory stalemate. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) proposed the Food Chemical Reassessment Act of 2021, which would strengthen our food regulatory system. If passed, the measure would establish an Office of Food Safety Assessment within the FDA to determine whether chemicals that entered the food supply chain illegally or those the FDA had previously deemed safe to eat are still acceptable. The law names 10 substances, including potassium bromate, for prompt reevaluation.

Consumers can reduce their exposure to potassium bromate while waiting for this law to pass or fresh federal action by reading food labels and avoiding goods that contain it. If you’re looking for options without potassium bromate, you can also search our Food Scores database.

Is bromate bad for people?

* Potassium bromate might cause pulmonary irritation. After repeated exposure, bronchitis with cough, phlegm, and/or shortness of breath may appear. Potassium bromate can impact the neural system, resulting in headaches, irritation, poor thinking, and personality changes after repeated exposure.

Why is American flour prohibited in Europe?

Even if reading the label on the products you find on grocery shelves is becoming easier, the ingredients can still be somewhat perplexing. We eat things that are actually forbidden in the European Union and many other nations here in the US.

Politics heavily influences whether a food is banned, even though public outcry against food nearly always centers on health.

In actuality, Europeans adore dairy products, and the EU as a whole produces the most dairy in the world. The EU outlawed milk and dairy products from cows given synthetic growth hormones in 1999; these products are also prohibited in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries.

The Food and Drug Administration has insisted since 1993 that the hormones that increase milk production in cows don’t endanger people. The FDA, the EPA, and the National Institutes of Health all concur that they are unable to distinguish between milk from cows that have had hormone treatment and milk from cows that have not.

However, proponents contend that little is known about the effects of bovine growth hormone, including some doctors. Many producers and merchants, including General Mills, Dannon, and Wal-Mart, have committed to being hormone-free in response to consumer demand.

Scientists have developed strains of damaging insect and disease-resistant corn, soybean, wheat, and other crops. Since many years, these crops have been produced extensively in the US, but not in the European Union.

Europeans have misgivings about genetically modified food and what they perceive to be corporate motivations. Some experts, such as the eminent scientist David Suzuki, contend that consuming genetically modified foods is increasing antibiotic resistance in both crops and the animals that eat them, including people.

Simply travel to the UK if it is difficult to envision a world without colorful cereal, mac and cheese, candies, and juice beverages. The laundry list of the most used food colorings, including Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, and Red 3, has been linked in numerous studies to behavioral issues in kids.

Despite not completely banning the colours, the European Union does mandate special labeling for foods containing the pigments that have been related to behavioral issues.

According to this article by Columbia University Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. David Schab “Even though not all kids seem to be sensitive to these substances, it’s difficult to defend their continued use in food, particularly in products that are largely targeted at young children.

The majority of devoted bakers in the US are adamant: light and fluffy cakes, waffles, and pancakes are best made with bleached wheat, which has less protein than unbleached flour.

While less nutrients are present in bleached flour than in unbleached flour, this isn’t the actual problem.

In Europe, flour is given a week or more to sit in the air to become whiter. In the US, food additives including chlorine, bromates, and peroxides—which have been outlawed in Europe and numerous other nations since the early 1990s—are used to bleach flour. The cause is that these chemicals—which were never truly meant to be consumed—might cause cancer.

Partially hydrogenated oils, which don’t occur in nature and are present in a wide variety of foods like peanut butter, pastries, and candies, are inexpensive, give food a beautiful texture, and, by all accounts, are extremely harmful to human health. It is hardly surprising that several European nations have placed severe restrictions on the use of hydrogenated oils in manufactured goods. Denmark, one of the world’s healthiest nations, passed legislation in 2003 limiting trans fats in food to no more than 2%.

American manufacturers weren’t even required to list their products “Up until 2006, hydrogenated oil was extremely unhealthy due to trans fats. Many firms are voluntarily phasing out trans fats since public health experts attribute them to a wide range of malignancies and heart conditions.

Beginning in July 2008, New York City forbade the use of artificial fats in dining establishments, and on January 1, 2009, California enacted legislation along similar lines.

Check the label.

Companies must disclose their “If they utilize bromated flour in their product, they need include it in the ingredients. For your store-bought flours, breads, buns, and other products, make sure to read the label. When it reads “It’s better to look for another bread brand if the flour is bromated.

Products from companies like Bob’s Red Mill, Gold Medal, and King Arthur Baking don’t contain potassium bromate. These are the three bread flours I have personally used, though there may be more brands as well.

Learn to bake your own bread.

Since handmade bread doesn’t include any chemical ingredients, it is not only better for you, but it also tastes better. That is true, as anyone who has ever experienced warm, fresh bread will attest!

The tastiest sourdough bread in the world is made by my aunt Susan, who taught me how to make it. She bakes it in her kitchen and offers it to family and friends. Every time I came to visit for the holidays, she always handed me a loaf. I didn’t get to try it very often because I only live a few hours away. And I can assure you that once you tasted her sourdough bread, you would want to keep eating it.

I requested her to lead a sourdough bread workshop for our clients when we first began offering programs at the farm in 2010. Her class was a huge success, so we decided to do a sourdough class every year. Each class would teach me something new. I began encouraging our classes to avoid using bromated flour after learning that it may be a cancer-causing substance at that point.

Join me for a Sourdough Bread & Cinnamon Rolls Class at Stoney Creek Farm.

Despite the fact that 2 out of the 4 sessions are already full (like I said, it’s popular! ), there are still seats available for the classes on November 13 and November 20, 2021.

My Sourdough & Cinnamon Rolls Class is also offered online.

From the convenience of your own kitchen, you can learn how to make sourdough bread.

Everything you need to know to make your own excellent bread, including how to make the sourdough starter, mix the dough, let it rise, and bake it off, will be covered in my Southern Sourdough & Cinnamon Rolls Online Course.