Much of the flour and baked goods sold in the United States has been treated with potassium bromate, a chemical used to bleach dough as well as enhance it’s elasticity. Sounds alright, until you find out that potassium bromate is a known carcinogen.
Illegal in the EU, Canada, Brazil and many other places because it causes cancer in rats and mice, potassium bromate is still legal in the US. When bromated flour is baked, generally, the potassium bromate should change to potassium bromide, which is a harmless byproduct. But if the product isn’t baked for long enough or at a high enough temperature, or if there is too much potassium bromate, it can be found in the final product.
The FDA has asked that companies voluntarily stop using the additive, and many companies have. Panera Bread is one company that we know for sure does NOT use potassium bromate in any of their fresh baked bread, a fact we were extremely happy to learn as we frequent their restaurants often here at Prancing Leopard. Other fast food companies like Wendys and Burger King may still use it in their buns and other products.
To avoid it, look at your ingredients list for words like “potassium bromate” and “bromated flour”. If you live in California, you’re in luck: products with potassium bromate must be labeled as such. When will the rest of the country get on the same page? Or, better yet, when will the US follow in banning this hazardous product? We hope it’s soon…
Information in this blog post can also be found on My Health News Daily