Did you know that in the United States there is a likelihood that a carcinogen named “potassium bromate” is in your flour or some of the baked goods that you buy?
This same ingredient is banned around the world, including in China!
Why then does the United States allow its use?
This is all the more reason to mill your own flour and bake your own goods…
Some of the flour and baked goods sold in the United States has been treated with potassium bromate, a known carcinogen.
Potassium bromate is a flour “improver” that strengthens dough.
It bleaches dough, enhances its elasticity, and makes for the formation of tiny, thin-walled bubbles as the bread rises. The end product is fluffy, soft and unnaturally white.
Why is potassium bromate used?
Bromate enables a lower cost of baking.
It essentially causes the flour to bulk up quicker, strengthens the dough, and makes bread rise more rapidly.
Logically, it would also enable use of a lower quality flour while reinforcing with bromate.
Ask yourself this…
Would a business take advantage of a lower cost of baking to increase their profit margin?
Might more bromate than the ‘recommended limits’ be used to increase margin?
With no restriction forbidding such use, would they not take advantage of it?
Why has it not been banned in the U.S.?
According to a 2013 report, “Potassium Bromate: Bread Conditioner Causes Cancer, Banned in UK” from DecodedScience.com
Potassium bromate has been banned in many countries including the United Kingdom in 1990 and Canada in 1994 – that’s more than 19 years ago!
Potassium bromate has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals, but we still use it in breads and baked goods here in the States.
Apparently when it is applied within the prescribed limits (15-30ppm), it is completely used up during the bake, and leaves no trace in the finished product. However, if too much is used, or the bread is not baked long enough or at a high enough temperature, then a potentially harmful amount will remain.
Since there was inadequate human evidence, potassium bromate is listed as a ‘Group2B’. This means that it possibly causes cancer in humans. Since we don’t have any long-term studies on humans, we don’t know the long term health effects for people. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that it’s a probable cause for cancer, but cannot officially determine the cancer risk due to the lack of studies conducted on humans.
According the the National Institutes of Health, the toxicity and carcinogenicity of Potassium Bromate is as follows…
The agent is carcinogenic in rats and nephrotoxic in both man and experimental animals when given orally.
It has been demonstrated that KBrO3 (Potassium Bromate) induces renal cell tumors, mesotheliomas of the peritoneum, and follicular cell tumors of the thyroid.
In addition, experiments aimed at elucidating the mode of carcinogenic action have revealed that KBrO3 is a complete carcinogen, possessing both initiating and promoting activities for rat renal tumorigenesis.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound too good…
“The U.S. FDA hasn’t banned potassium bromate, but it apparently does advise moderate use only and proper labeling.”
Did you catch that? “advise”? The FDA does not “require” proper labeling or moderate use. This implies that you cannot rely on an ingredient label showing you that the product contains potassium bromate, or has been ‘brominated’.
(California has declared bromate a carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65.)
Who uses it and who doesn’t?
Brominated flour may be in your grocery store and is still widely used in restaurants, bakeries, and is found in many fast food rolls, buns, and pizza dough, while some commercial brands have replaced potassium bromate with other dough-enhancing additives.
I’ve read that apparently General Mills, makers of Pillsbury and Gold Medal brand flours, offers no less than 22 different brominated flours at its “professional baking solutions” site.
Some major brands of flour include both bromated and unbromated products.
On its website, Whole Foods lists bromated flour and potassium bromate as “unacceptable ingredients for food” and sells no foods containing them.
King Arthur Flour does not use pottasium bromate.
Some national pizza chains such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut don’t use it.
If the packaging doesn’t say it, or if you’re eating at a restaurant or ‘fast food’, or buying from a bakery, there’s no way to know for sure if potassium bromate has been used.
Do check the labeling and ingredients though – in the event that the manufacturer did choose to indicate it, or ASK them…
These foods may be perfectly safe having been used within ‘limits’, but as an end-user there’s no way to know for sure of any residual amount.
The only way to know for sure… is to mill your own flour yourself – straight from wheat kernels. Not only is consuming organic wheat flour much more healthy, the raw wheat kernels (prior to milling) will store for decades and is perfect for survival-preparedness long term storage. Learning to make your own bread and baked goods from scratch is a staple skill for anyone interested in prepping. Whenever I discover some new reason to avoid store-bought ‘processed’ foods, it brings me back to the basics… Do it yourself. It’s the only way you’ll know what went inside the food you eat…