In recent times, local bakeries across Nigeria have come under intense scrutiny for their continued use of potassium bromate as a dough improver in bread production. This chemical additive, although effective in strengthening dough and enhancing its rise, has been linked to various health risks, raising concerns among health experts and consumers alike.
Potassium bromate is a powerful oxidizing agent commonly used in the baking industry to improve the volume, texture, and appearance of bread. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health bodies have classified it as a potential carcinogen. Prolonged exposure to potassium bromate through the consumption of bread containing the additive has been associated with an increased risk of kidney and thyroid cancers.
Despite these well-documented risks, some local bakeries in Nigeria continue to use potassium bromate due to its affordability and availability. The lack of stringent regulations and inadequate monitoring by regulatory authorities have allowed these bakeries to bypass the ban on potassium bromate and continue using it in bread production.
In a moment of jest, a Nigerian Man couldn’t help but humorously refer to bread that proudly inscribes “bromate-free” on their packaging as “bromate-full bread.” With a playful tone, he urged local bakeries to genuinely consider the health of their consumers. While his comment may have been lighthearted, it touched upon a serious issue that continues to affect the Nigerian populace. It serves as a gentle reminder to bakers that the well-being of their customers should always be a top priority.
The Nigerian government, recognizing the seriousness of the issue, has taken steps to address this concern. In 1993, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) prohibited the use of potassium bromate in food processing, including bread production. However, enforcement has remained a significant challenge, and many bakeries have continued to flout the ban.
To combat the issue, NAFDAC has recently intensified efforts to monitor and regulate bakeries across the country. Inspections and random sampling of bread products are being conducted to detect the presence of potassium bromate. Offending bakeries found to be in violation of the ban are subject to penalties, including fines and closure.
Additionally, the Nigerian government has launched public awareness campaigns to educate consumers about the risks associated with potassium bromate and the importance of purchasing bread from certified bakeries. Health experts and consumer advocacy groups are also working tirelessly to raise awareness and push for stricter enforcement of the ban.
In response to the growing concerns, several local bakeries have voluntarily discontinued the use of potassium bromate and have adopted alternative dough improvement methods. These alternatives include the use of natural enzymes, ascorbic acid, and other permitted additives that do not pose the same health risks.
However, despite these positive strides, there are still some members of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria who persist in the practice of using potassium bromate. It is imperative that the Association takes decisive action against these members to safeguard public health and uphold the integrity of the baking industry.
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria should consider implementing strict guidelines and regulations for its members, explicitly prohibiting the use of potassium bromate and other banned additives. The Association should also establish a robust monitoring and enforcement system to ensure compliance among its members. Taking a strong stance against the use of potassium bromate will not only protect consumers but also enhance the reputation of responsible bakers and promote a healthier baking industry.
In conclusion, the dangers of adding potassium bromate to bread by local bakeries in Nigeria are a significant concern for public health. While efforts have been made by regulatory authorities and conscientious bakeries, the issue persists due to lax enforcement and some bakers’ non-compliance. It is crucial for consumers to remain vigilant, support certified bakeries, and report any suspected violations to NAFDAC.