What Does Brominated Flour Mean?

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Brominated flour is flour which is treated with a chemical oxidizer called potassium bromate. Some bakers prefer brominated flour because it produces glutinous dough that endures rigorous processing. Brominated flour is a possible carcinogen which is banned in many countries.

Attractive Bread Products

Many fast-food companies use brominated flour to enhance the appearance of their baked goods. Rolls made with potassium bromate rise higher and display a finer crumb than breads made without the additive.

Health Hazards of Potassium Bromate

The potassium bromate in brominated flour may be toxic to the endocrine glands and cause damage to kidneys, including cancer, according to a review in the October 2013 issue of "Cancers." Though the review states that potassium bromate appears to promote the development of cancer in large doses of more than 125 parts per billion, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified potassium bromate as a class 2B carcinogen in humans, meaning it can possily cause cancer.

Brominated Flour Ban

Potassium bromate is a banned as a flour and food additive in Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and other parts of the world. The state of California requires warning labels on baked goods containing brominated flour. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows standardized levels of potassium bromate in flour in the amount of 20 parts per billion, according to the 2010 issue of "Food Engineering and Ingredients." Though this amount is acceptable, the FDA advises bakers to voluntarily reduce or eliminate their use of the chemical.

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