New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) With a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) about harmful chemicals in bakery products causing panic among the consumers and resulting in plummeting sales, industry body Assocham on Tuesday said that potassium bromate was being used with the permission of the food regulator.
“The industry will surely be at fault if it was using potassium bromate in violation of the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) rules. If at all, there is a problem, it does not lie at the door of the industry,” Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) secretary general D.S. Rawat said in a statement.
A CSE study on Monday revealed that most of the breads made by the Indian companies are found to contain potassium bromate and potassium iodate — chemicals banned in many countries for their adverse effects on human health.
Coming in support of the bread manufacturers, Assocham stressed on the need to end scaremongering, saying it would only result in the immense loss of consumer confidence and crores of rupees for the industry.
“Already, reports suggest a sharp fall in the sale of morning breads and a sense of panic among the homemakers,” Rawat said.
He said that Assocham is all for adoption of internationally accepted food standards.
If at all, the problem is detected, the first contact point should be the government agencies and regulators both at the central and state levels, he added.
“But an impression has been created as that the bread manufacturers are deliberately causing risk to the public health. A similar thing had happened in the case of Maggi noodles which finally returned to the market after an effective court intervention, but not without several hundreds of crores of rupees of loss to the manufacturers,” the statement said.
The industry body said that if India has to scale up its food processing industry, it cannot be left to scare-mongering by NGOs.
“The NGOs are free to be watchdogs, but they must realise that their reports and findings should not be targeted only at the industry. While the government is trying to move towards of ease of doing business by relaxing the inspector raj, the NGO policing may harm many times,” it said.
Meanwhile, FSSAI has banned the use of potassium bromate in making bread in the country. It has also decided to examine the use of potassium iodate in bread-making, after the CSE report.
Companies like Jubilant FoodWorks and Britannia saw their stocks plummet on Tuesday as their share prices were hit after the CSE report.
Jubilant FoodWorks, that operates the Domino’s Pizza brand, saw its shares close 4.45 percent down at Rs.1,063 apiece on Tuesday as compared to the previous close.
Britannia Industries shares also dipped, closing 1.06 percent down at Rs.2,652.55 apiece on Tuesday as compared to the previous close.