Food With Potassium Bromate


Food With Potassium Bromate. In our food industry, the presence of bromate leads to cancer in human beings. Bromate is a regulated chemical and it has been prohibited from being used in bakeries and other food processing centers since 1990.The FDA allows potassium bromate in food as long as it doesn’t exceed 750 parts per million. It can be found in bread, flours, pizza dough, buns, and pretty much anything that would contain flour.

Food With Potassium Bromate

Potassium bromate is a white crystal powder, powerful oxidizing agent, and one of the cheapest dough improvers. It was patented in 1914 for use in baking bread. It is considered a “slow acting” oxidizer so works great during the mixing, fermentation, and proofing stages of the baking process. Here in the United States it is used as a flour improver which strengthens the dough allowing it to rise higher. It gives the bread an appealing white color also. The challenge is that it may be carcinogenic which definitely is not a good thing. It is classified as a 2B carcinogen which means it could possibly cause cancer in humans.

The following countries have banned the use of potassium bromate in foods: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Nigeria, South Korea, Peru, Sir Lanka, China, India, United Kingdom, and the countries of the European Union. Yet, the United States still allows its use. The FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it. California does require that any products that have potassium bromate to be labeled as a carcinogenic substance.

The FDA allows potassium bromate in food as long as it doesn’t exceed 750 parts per million. It can be found in bread, flours, pizza dough, buns, and pretty much anything that would contain flour. The Environmental Working Group has a list of 86 food items that contain potassium bromate; Many companies that still use bromated flour claim that the bromate is converted to bromide during the baking process. Potassium bromide is non-carcinogenic. The challenge is that this requires specific protocol to make sure all the bromate is converted. If the flour isn’t baked long enough or at high enough of a temperature, bromate can remain in the product. This can also happen if too much is used in the first place. Testing of finished bread products has shown that potassium bromate can still be present in the finished product.

Many bakeries have voluntarily stopped using potassium bromate such as Pepperidge Farm, Pillsbury, and Best Foods, Inc. Ascorbic acid has been used as a replacement product for potassium bromate.

Things to know about potassium bromate in bread

Hyderabad: Cancer-causing bread? The latest study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has created a flutter over its claim that many bread, burger and pizza samples it tested contained potassium bromate which is possibly carcinogenic and potassium iodate which could cause thyroid-related problems.

Soon after the study was released, the national food safety regulator removed potassium bromate from the list of permitted additives and said it is examining the evidence against potassium iodate. Union health minister J.P. Nadda called for an investigation and asked people not to panic.

What exactly is potassium bromate? Here are six things to know about the food additive:


Potassium bromate, or simply called bromate, is an oxidiser used to strengthen dough and enhance its elasticity. This helps bake uniform and whitened bread. Typically 15-30 parts per million (ppm) of potassium bromate is added to dough. Normally, baking changes its chemical composition and renders it harmless, leaving no trace in the finished product. However, if too much of the additive is used, or the bread is not baked long enough or at a high enough temperature, then a residual amount will remain.


Potassium bromate is cheaper and more widely available than other food additives, and gives a better end-product. In a low-margin, high-volume and perishable food product like bread, cost and end-product does matter.


In 1964, an expert committee administered by the World Health Organisation and Food and Agriculture Organization started evaluating potassium bromate. In 1983, it temporarily accepted a limit of 75 ppm provided there are negligible residues in the end product, on the understanding that all bromate gets converted into bromide during baking. This limit was later reduced to 60 ppm. After long-term studies, potassium bromate was considered a ‘genotoxic carcinogen’. In 1992, the committee decided that using potassium bromate as a flour treatment agent was “not appropriate”, also considering there were alternatives. In 1999, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified potassium bromate as possibly carcinogenic to humans. In 2012, the Codex Alimentarius, an international food safety reference agency run by the WHO and FAO, formally withdrew specifications of potassium bromate in line with the expert committee view.


The European Union, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Peru and Columbia have banned the use of potassium bromate as a flour treatment agent. The EU has banned potassium iodate as well. India and the US continue to allow use of potassium bromate in permissible limits. India allows use of potassium bromate and/or iodate up to 50 ppm on flour mass basis, while the US allows it up to 75 ppm and manufacturers must list the ingredient on food labels. However, the US officially urges bakers not to use potassium bromate; in California, food containing potassium is required to have a warning label. Many US bread and bakery manufacturers have voluntarily stopped using it.


Ascorbic acid or Vitamin-C is considered a healthy alternative to potassium bromate. Glucose oxidase is another option approved by FSSAI in 2015. Other food improvers and flour treatment agents approved by law include ammonium persulphate, ammonium chloride and amylases.

Potassium bromate use and effects on food products

Bakery Products
Bakery Products

In 1964 the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) jointly carried out an evaluation of the effects of potassium bromate in the treatment of flour. It was then found that that when used  within acceptable limits it did not have adverse effects. In addition to being used for bread processing potassium bromate is also used to treat barley when making beer. In Japan it is used for improving the quality of fish paste in products.

Subsequent evaluations by joint committees of the FAO/WHO however said that potassium bromate must not be present in food and if it is present then it should be in negligible amounts.  In any case it should be acceptable only when it is within the maximum tolerable daily intake of bromide. It has been observed through testing that potassium bromate converts to bromide when the bread is prepared from flour by bulk fermentation process.  Bromide is harmless and does not cause any side-effects.

When bromate was used in quantity less than 50mg per kg of flour then it left no bromate residue but if used in higher levels than this then potassium bromate could be detected in the bread. The higher the level of bromate used the more the residual levels. Similarly when bromate is used to treat barley for beer processing it changes to bromide. However, fish paste treated with bromate shows residues in the products. Presently there is no estimation of what is considered safe levels of bromate except in the treatment of bread. Therefore in 1992, the FAO/WHO committee decided that using potassium bromate as a flour treatment agent was “not appropriate.”

Most of the analysis of potassium bromate as a possible carcinogen has been determined from animal studies. There is no adequate evidence to show that potassium bromate causes cancer hence it has been listed in the Group2B which means it possibly causes cancer.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that it could cause cancer but since no long term studies have been conducted on human beings there is no definite way to determine the quantity of bromate that will cause cancer. When it is used in flour at the limit of 15-30ppm it is used up during baking and leaves no trace in the finished product. FSSAI had therefore recommended a limit of 20ppm to be used in flour but now with the publication of CSE report the FSSAI has planned to ban any use of the additive for bakery products. In 2012 Codex Alimentarius formally withdrew specifications of potassium bromate as there was no way to know what amount could cause cancer.

Brominated flour is used in some restaurants, bakeries and has been found in many fast food rolls, buns, and pizza bases. A number of bread and baked product manufacturers use potassium bromate with flour because it improves elasticity, speeds up baking and gives bread a nice white colour. While these foods may be perfectly safe if bromate is within ‘limits’ but there is no way for consumers to know the residual amounts especially when used in burger buns or pizza bases. Therefore the FSSAI has decided to ban the use of potassium bromate like a number of other countries. Some commercial brands have replaced potassium bromate with other dough-enhancing additives. The manufacturers have other alternatives to replace potassium bromate but they have to follow the guidelines on food additives as prescribed in Appendix A of the Food Safety & Standards (Food Products Standards & Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.

Another Reason to Eat Organic – No Potassium Bromate in Your Bread

Source: Anthony Albright

If you are a bread lover, which so many of us are, there is just another reason why you should be eating organic: potassium bromate.

Potassium bromate is an additive used in flour which strengthens the dough and allows it to rise higher. Furthermore, it gives the finished bread an appealing white color.

But, the problem is that this additive is also linked to cancer.

In 1999, the International Agency on Research for Cancer declared that potassium bromate was a possible human carcinogen, which means that it possibly causes cancer.

Here are some other things for you to know about potassium bromate:

– It is not allowed for use or is banned as a food additive in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and the European Union.

– The state of California requires food with potassium bromate to carry a warning label.

– In tests on laboratory animals, exposure to potassium bromate increased the incidence of both benign and malignant tumors in the thyroid and peritoneum.

– Potassium bromate also has the potential to disrupt the genetic material within cells.

To no one’s surprise, the food industry says that potassium bromate is perfectly safe. It claims that potassium bromate gets converted into potassium bromide, a similar yet non-carcinogenic chemical, during the baking process.

However, testing in the UK has proven that this is not the case and that potassium bromate still remains after the baking process.


There are three concrete steps that you can take.

First, be aware of which conventional brands are using potassium bromate in their products and avoid them.

According to the Environmental Working Group, there are currently at least 86 baked goods and other food products found on supermarket shelves, including well-known brands and products such as Hormel Foods breakfast sandwiches, Weis Kaiser rolls and French toast, and Goya turnover pastry dough.

Amello’s Italian Style Raspberry Drop Cookies
Amon’s Kosher Deep Dish Pizza
Busken, Tea Cookies
Canadian Home Style Pizza Cheesy Veggie
Canadian Home Style Pizza Fluffy & Cripsy
Caribbean Food Delights Mild Beef Patties
Chopsie’s Pizza Rolls
Dockside Classic Crab & Cheese Bites
Dockside Classics Crab Cakes
Dockside Classics Lobster Cakes
Fresh Daily Easter Bun
Fresh Daily Inc. Spice Fruit Bun
Fresh Daily Nutmeg Bread
Fresh Daily Round Spice Bun
Fried Garlic Sticks
Fried Sticks Palitos Lemon
Galletas Paloma Castilla Crackers
Giovanni’s Kaiser Italian Rolls
Golden Krust Fresh Traditional Style Whole
Golden Krust Hard Dough Bread
Golden Krust Jamaican Style Chicken Patties
Golden Krust Spice Bun
Goya Dough For Turnover Pastries
Harrington’s Amish Style Handmade Egg Noodles (2)
Home Like Hard Rolls
Hormel Bacon Egg & Cheese in Deli Bagel
Hormel Black Label Breakfast Sandwiches
Imperial Garden Pork Egg Rolls
J.T.M Chicken Philly Cheese Steak Kit 4 Complete Sandiwiches
J.T.M Meatball Sub Kit
J2 Broadway’s Gourmet Pizza
La Bayamesa Corn Muffins
La Bayamesa Pineapple Filled Pastry
La Fe Chicken Croquettes
La Fe Tropical Crackers
La Gustosa Tortelli With Cheese
La Rosa’s Hoagy Rolls
Larosa’s Meatballs
Lemon Spicy Sticks
Longo’s Pizza Crusts
Longo’s Sicilian Pizza Crust
Lucca’s Italian Rolls
Mary’s Bakery Guava Bread
Mary’s Bakery Sweet Bread
Minardi Round Bread
Minardi’s French Mini Bread
Murry’s French Toast Bites Cinnamon Blast
New York Flatbread Everything
New York Flatbread Sesame (2)
New York Flatbreads Garlic (2)
Palagonia 6 Mini Hero’s
Palagonia French Bread
Palagonia Italian Bread (2)
Palagonia Panino Italiano
Palagonia Rolls
Palagonia Sliced Heros
Palagonia Sliced Italian Bread
Pao Ge Milho Apple Cake
Pierino Jumbo Shells With Cheese
Pierino Manicotti With Cheese
Racine Bakery Pumpernickel
Racine Bakery Sunflower Rye Bread
Rico Original Discos, Dough For Turnover Pastries
Rico Original Grandes
Royal Caribbean Bakery Hard Dough Bread (2)
Scotto’s Gourmet Cookies
Sibstar Bread Farmers
Sibstar Bread White Wheat
Stern’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Super Cakes Milk Bread
Super Craft Milk Bread
Tastee Choice Chicken Parmigiana and Penne Pasta
Tastee Choice, Orange Chicken
Terranova Bakery Pane Di Casa
Terranova Bakery Plain Friselle
Terranova Bakery Wheat Bread
The Bakery Bacon Mini Pastries Kolacky Cream Cheese
Tony Luke’s Chicken Cheesesteak
Tony Luke’s Roast Pork Sandwiches
Triana Almond Cake
Triana Pineapple Cake
Tudor Bakery Biscotti Almond
We Are The Finest! Odessa White Bread
Weis Enriched Rolls Kaiser (2)
Weis French Toast Bites Cinnamon
Wheat Bran Bread

What is Potassium Bromate – The Villain Recently Discovered in Delhi’s Bread?


  • Till yesterday Potassium Bromate was a quiet, unheard of food additive
  • Most samples of bread in Delhi were found to contain Potassium Bromate
  • Potassium Bromate has been linked to causing cancer

These days, in the world of online news and Twitter, reputations can be made or broken overnight. Till yesterday Potassium Bromate was a quiet, unheard of food additive that was part and parcel of our everyday slice. Apparently, it had no business being there in the first place. The latest news broke when the Centre of Science and Environment conducted a study and stated that most samples of bread in Delhi contained Potassium Bromate, a substance that is a known carcinogen.

Here are a few facts:

1. Potassium Bromate makes the bread look white and is also used as a flour improver, which means that it helps in strengthening dough and enhances its elasticity.

2. The main concern with Potassium Bromate is that it has been linked to causing cancer. A 1982 research from Japan showed that it causes cancer in the bodies of rats and mice.

3. It’s not just present in bread. It was banned in China, when an imported packet of chips by an American brand was found containing Potassium Bromate. 

4. Potassium Bromate has been banned in the European Union, Brazil and Canada. 

5. It’s legal in the United States, and can be found on grocery shelves. However, California has regulated its use. The state dictates that you have to have a warning label on all baked products that contain it.

6. It is used during the early stages of baking. We’ve all heard of gluten and know that its the glue that binds bread together. Back in the day, bakers depended on oxygen to form molecular bridges between two gluten molecules. Then came along Potassium Bromate as an oxidising agent, and it managed to do what oxygen in the air took a long time to do.

7. Some experts from the baking industry say that Potassium Bromate is acceptable if found in less than 20 (pbb) parts per billion. But if the baked goods aren’t baked for long enough at a high temperature or if the quantities used are liberal, there will be residual amounts of this harmful substance.

8. Potassium Bromate is not just harmful for oral consumption. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says that you may require medical attention if you are exposed to it through the skin and eyes or if you ingest it.

9. Last year, a non profit agency, the Environmental Working Group found the chemical in 86 breads and other baked goods. The group concluded that this harmful substance should be used with caution and be avoided whenever possible. They also stated that a number of foods contain Potassium Bromate other than breads; ranging from crackers to egg rolls and even meatballs.

10. According to the latest study done by Center for Science and Environment (CSE), this additive was found in breads, pizzas, ready-to-eat pizza bread as well as burger buns in Delhi. The only bakery they tested that did not use Potassium Bromate was Defence Bakery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.