Government is set to ban use of potassium bromate as food additive in next 15 days, following a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study that claimed presence of cancer-causing chemicals in bread.

“Potassium bromate is one of 11,000 food additives that are allowed in food business. After careful consideration, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permissible additives,” FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said.

The regulator has recommended removal of potassium bromate from the list of permissible food additives to the Health Ministry.

Yesterday, the CSE said that nearly 84 per cent of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including pav and buns, tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate, banned in many countries as they are listed as “hazardous” for public health.

Meanwhile, Health Minister J P Nadda told reporters here that his ministry had asked FSSAI to take the matter seriously and submit a report. “They are coming out with a report. The Ministry will take appropriate action accordingly. We will take action as soon as the report comes,” he said.

On the notification, Agarwal said, “As far as issue of notification is concerned the FSSAI has already sent the recommendation to Ministry of Health and it would be issued by the Ministry and there it may take a week or two.”

After the removal of potassium bromate from the list its use as food additive would be banned, he said.

On use of potassium iodate, FSSAI is examining the evidence and soon a decision will be taken over the same.

According to CSE, potassium bromate typically increases dough strength, leads to higher rising and uniform finish to baked products, while potassium iodate is a flour treatment agent.

CSE has also urged FSSAI to ban the use of potassium bromate and potassium iodate with immediate effect and prevent their routine exposure to Indian population.