was first found to cause tumors in rats in 1982. Subsequent studies on rats and
mice confirmed that it causes tumors of the kidney, thyroid, and other organs.
Instead of banning bromate, since 1991 the FDA with only partial success
has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.
FDA should fulfill its responsibility to protect the publics health,
said Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of CSPI. Instead of
meeting privately with industry, the FDA should ban bromate immediately.
1992-93 and again in 1998-99, the FDA tested several dozen baked goods and found
that many contained bromate at levels considered unsafe by the agency, said
Darren Mitchell, a CSPI attorney. One sample tested recently had almost
1,000 times the detection limit. The FDAs inaction needlessly exposes consumers
to this harmful additive.
additives that cause cancer usually can be banned under the Delaney clause of
the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. However, because the FDA sanctioned the use
of bromate before the Delaney clause went into effect in 1958, it is harder for
the agency to ban the substance.
have been banned in numerous countries, including the United Kingdom in 1990 and
Canada in 1994. In addition, in 1991, California declared bromate a carcinogen
under the states Proposition 65. Baked goods sold in California would have
to bear a cancer warning if they contained more than a certain level of bromate.
As a result, most California bakers have switched to bromate-free processes.
bakers, including Best Foods, Inc. (maker of Arnold, Entenmanns, and Orowheat
brand breads and rolls), Pepperidge Farm, and Pillsbury, have switched to bromate-free
processes. Also, some supermarket chains, including Giant, Jewel, Ralphs,
and Vons, do not use bromate.
contrast, Interstate Brands Corp. (Wonder, Home Pride), Schmidt Baking Co. (Schmidt,
Sunbeam), Tasty Baking Co. (TastyKake), and Martins still use potassium
bromate in some of their products. Among fast-food chains, Burger King, Arbys,
and Wendys use bromate in buns, and Boston Market uses it in its french
advises consumers to avoid bread, rolls, doughnuts, and cakes that list potassium
bromate or bromated flour among their ingredients. FDAs
limited surveys found that rolls and buns are especially likely to contain high
levels of bromate.