Ugandan health ministry has banned the use of potassium bromate in making bread.
Health Minister Stephen Mallinga was quoted by state-owned New Vision on Saturday saying that it has been proved that potassium bromate is a carcinogen especially of the kidneys and urinary bladder and that the public should stop using it.
"Potassium bromate has been banned in several countries because it is considered to be a cancer causing substance," Mallinga said.
Potassium bromate is an oxidizing agent used as a flour improver to strengthen the dough, allowing higher rising to yield higher volume of bread.
Potassium bromate is in form of white powder and is also used in treating barley in beer making. It is also used to improve the quality of fish-paste products in some countries.
In 1993 the World Health Organization (WHO) banned potassium bromate after it found out that the flour improver causes cancer.
The ingredient was also banned from use in food products in Britain in 1990.
Following the WHO ban that was effected in 1993, other countries like Canada, Sri Lanka, China and Nigeria have banned the use of potassium bromate.
Mallinga said the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint Food and Agriculture Organization and WHO Program responsible for compiling the standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations, has removed potassium bromate from the list of additives permitted for use in the food industry.
He said the ministry and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) take the findings very seriously.
Mallinga warned the general public especially in the baking industry to take seriously this public health concern and stop using additives containing potassium bromate.
"The ministry appeals to all enforcement agencies and local authorities to vigorously implement the ban," he said.
Executive Director of UNBS Terry Kahuma said the bureau is currently creating awareness among the owners of bakeries on dangers associated with potassium bromate so that it's not used and protect the public from the health hazard.