Pan de Sal - Give Us This Day Our Safe Daily Bread

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For what seemed to be the nth time, Senator Juan Flavier once more called on the Department of Health. In July, he urged the DOH to ban flour millers from using potassium bromate in making bread, picking on the pan de sal as an example to bring home the message.

Flavier cited World Health Organization studies revealing that potassium bromated is carcinogenic or causes cancer.

“Cancer is an expensive illness which (the people in) a Third world country like the Philippines cannot afford,” Flavier stressed.

In November 1994, then Health Secretary Flavier banned the use of potassium bromate in baked products but gave bakers grace period until the end of 1995. The period was supposed to give bakers and flour manufacturers time to look for a substitute.

However, flour millers and bakery owners were able to get an extension of the grace period until December 1996 from Dr. Hillarion Ramiro, Jr.

In response to Flavier’s call, Sec. Carmencita N. Reodica met with flour millers to implement the ban before the end of the year. The Bureau of Food and Drugs has launched a nationwide education campaign to help facilitate the phase out of potassium bromate.

Potassium bromate is used for flour maturation as well as to make the bread bloat and improve its texture. A more expensive but a lot safer alternative has been suggested - the use of Vitamin C and A combination enzyme.

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