Potassium bromate and banning flour additives

While there are many who are against the “food police,” the unspecific group of people who protest junk food  in school lunches, support banning fois gras and trans fats and, in general, want to keep an eye on what we’re eating for the sake of general wellness, there are many instances where their help can be appreciated. The debate over fois gras might be a moral one, for instance, but for some food additives the problem is a health one, and it is in these cases that the public can most appreciate the fact that the “food police” are out there.

And they are just about everywhere, if you look for them. In Uganda, the health ministry has banned the use of a baking additive, potassium bromate. Potassium bromate is a dough enhancer that, when used properly, can help breads rise higher and achieve a better texture. Unfortunately, potassium bromate is also a carcinogen. When it is used in just the right amounts, all traces will cook off during baking, but it is easy to overuse and as a result, many other countries have banned its use, including China, Canada, the United Kingdom and most countries in Europe. It is not banned in the US, although the FDA discourages its use and states like California require a warning label on products which include it.

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