Require Consumer Warning Label for Dangerous Food Additive


Target: Food and Drug Administration

Goal: Warn consumers of products that contain potassium bromate, a harmful food additive that is commonly used in bread products

Potassium bromate, also called bromated flour, is a food additive that chemically ages flour and enhances elasticity of bread dough. Before it was patented for use in 1914, bakers were dependent on oxygen in the air to age the flour they needed for bread, a process that often required weeks. The magic of potassium bromate enabled bakers to produce bread more efficiently. But it did so at a cost. Since its patent, potassium bromate has been proven to cause cancer in the thyroids and kidneys of adult rats and mice, resulting in its immediate ban throughout China, Canada, and the European Union. Urge the FDA to caution its consumers about the harmful effects of potassium bromate by placing warning labels on all items containing the additive.

Though few Americans know what potassium bromate is, it is likely that most have consumed it at some point in their lives. Bakers and snack producers strive to eliminate all traces of the additive by the end of the baking process, but they are not always successful. If too much of the additive is used or if the bread is undercooked, not all of it will be cooked out. If the risks associated with bromated flour are not alarming enough, there are additional reasons to opt for traditional baking methods. Many successful companies, such as Pepperidge Farm, refuse to use harmful flour enhancers in their products and have not experienced structural issues with their breads.

Food administrations in China, Canada, and the European Union have also seen bread companies thrive despite their rejection of bromated flour. They have taken the scientific studies that purport the dangers of potassium bromate very seriously and feel strongly that this flour enhancer is responsible for increases in health problems.  It is illogical that the FDA chooses to ignore the same scientific studies and continues to allow American consumers to blindly subject themselves to harm.

The state of California decided to take action against ignorance in 1991, requiring by law that all products containing Potassium Bromate convey a warning label for consumer knowledge. Because of this, consumers striving to avoid the product have an easier time doing so, and some who are unaware that Potassium Bromate is harmful can be informed.

Tell the FDA that they are obligated to acknowledge the risks of harmful products, and they are duty-bound to inform American citizens if these products contain certain dangerous additives. The FDA must place warning labels on all products containing potassium bromate.


Dear Food and Drug Administration,

The food additive known as potassium bromate is used in baked goods all across the country. Even though it is banned in places like China, Canada, and the European Union, your organization sees no reason to even inform American consumers that this product is dangerous. Scientific studies have shown that Potassium Bromate is a cancer-causing agent. For this reason, many countries have banned it altogether — the United States will not even warn its citizens of potential harm.

Because Potassium Bromate is intended to be entirely cooked out of all baked goods, your organization has deemed it safe. I oppose this illogical claim because bromated flour is sometimes used in greater quantities than are safe, and bakers sometimes undercook their bread products, resulting in traces of the additive in the final product. There is no convenient method of testing breads for traces of potassium bromate, and therefore American citizens have no idea if the product they are eating is safe. Whether or not the additive results in harm, consumers have a right to be forewarned about its potential effects. As such,  I urge you to place warning labels on all products containing potassium bromate in the United States.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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