Friday, October 15, 2010

Godfather's Pizza Continues Using Bromated Flour At Many Locations

Godfather’s Pizza continues to use potassium bromate as a dough conditioner in many of its full service locations.
Bromate is considered a category 2B carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), meaning that it may be harmful when consumed. In theory, the substance is supposed to bake out of bread dough as it cooks, but if too much is added, or if the bread is not cooked long enough or not at a high enough temperature, then a residual amount will remain.

Potassium bromate has been banned from use in food products in Europe, as well as the United Kingdom in 1990, and Canada in 1994, and most other countries. It was banned in Sri Lanka in 2001 and China in 2005. It is also banned in Nigeria, Brazil and Peru.

Godfather’s Original and Golden Crust pizza dough lists potassium bromate as an ingredient (the listing is  required by federal law). Its frozen Golden Crust does not list potassium bromate, and those outlets (like Hess gas stations) that sell Godfather’s “manufactured” products may or may not be buying a product containing potassium bromate. According to Tricia Hamilton, Godfather's Director of Research & Development, two Hess locations in New York bought and sold a "manufactured" product that did not contain potassium bromate. Its gluten free pizzas do not list potassium bromate.
In the United States, potassium bromate is not banned. A warning label is required when bromated flour is used in California. California declared bromate a carcinogen in 1991.  Some organizations such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest have lobbied the Food and Drug Administration to ban potassium bromate as a food additive in the United States. Instead, since 1991 the FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it. The FDA currently permits the addition of potassium bromate in flour provided that its inclusion does not exceed .0075 parts for each 100 parts of weight of the flour (or 750 parts per million). These regulations are found at 21CFR136.110(14)(i).

Potassium bromate is added to bread and other flours as maturing agent. It promotes gluten development in doughs, making the bread stronger and more elastic. Commercial bakers use bromated flour because it yields dependable results and can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools. It is also used to render inferior flour with low protein levels more useable since these flours do not develop enough gluten on their own.
There has been a multi-year effort to get the FDA to ban potassium bromate. Until that happens, consumers should self-inform themselves and decide for themselves if they want to ingest potentially harmful ingredients banned in other parts of the world.

When asked if Godfather's Pizza sold its pizza in school lunchrooms around the country, Tricia Hamilton did not respond.