If you love bread, cookies or pastries, which so many of do, there is good reason you should be concerned. I guess my concern regarding flour and how it effects us came about from the many trips my husband and I took to different parts of Europe. You see my husband and I LOVE bread and when you travel to Europe bread is a staple with every meal. But recently in the past year my husband started to complain that every time he ate bread in the United States that he felt like a rock was in his gut and just felt horrible and sick. So over the course of the past year I have gotten him onto only eating gluten free products and what do you know..., the problem was solved. Yes, of course there are slip ups, and every now and then he tries once more to eat that pizza or loaf of bread at a restaurant here in the states and of course he pays dearly for at least the next 12-24 hours. But on our last trip to Portugal in February 2020- my husband decided he was not going to watch what he ate (like at home by not eating any bread products that were not gluten free), instead he wanted to test it, to see if it was something in our bread/wheat/flour or if he was just plain allergic to gluten somehow. I am happy to report after 10 days of eating so much bread from pastries for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, rolls and baguettes with dinner and then there is the afternoon, cheese bread and wine, he never once had a problem like he does when he eats these same things in the United States. So I swore to figure out what really is in our flour and why is it so different from European flour and why there are so many people that claim to be allergic to gluten in the states and Europe really does not recognize the words "gluten free" either in their restaurants or their grocery stores. Honestly, if you say the words "gluten free" to someone in Europe they will look at you like you have three heads!
What I discovered changed everything about how and what I bake at Fuego-grill. There is this little know ingredient that is put into 85-90% of all flours and baked products in the US- it is called POTASSIUM BROMATE (PB). Ok I am defiantly not the scientist in my family (architect turned chef) but when I started to dig deeper I discovered that every European Nation country, South America and even Canada have BANNED this (PB) from being put into flour or any food ingredients in their countries. However, did you know that it is still actively used and is still VERY LEGAL in the United States and is in most of what we consume today? Except in California where apparently if it is in a food product it must have a warning on the label stating it. So what is POTASSIUM BROMATE? Potassium bromate is an additive used in flour which strengthens the dough and allows it to rise higher. Furthermore, it gives the finished bread an appealing white color. However, the problem is that this additive is also linked to CANCER and by many scientists is classified as a human carcinogen. According to the Environmental Working Group, there are currently at least 86 baked goods and other food products found on an average supermarket shelf, including well-known brands and products such as Hormel Foods, Weis Kaiser rolls and French toast, and Goya turnover pastry dough, just to name a few, that all contain the ingredient Potassium Bromate, bet you did not know that! This horrible chemical (BP) has been shown and proven to cause kidney, thyroid and gastrointestinal cancer in animals.
In 2007, Chinese authorities pulled a batch of imported snack chips from store shelves because they believed the chips contained potassium bromate, a food additive banned in China. The chips' country of origin? (Drumroll please...) The United States.(HAHA)
Potassium bromate is also illegal in the entire European Union, Canada, Brazil and elsewhere because it causes cancer in rats and mice. In the United States, however, it has remained legal since it was first patented for use in baking bread, in 1914.
Today "Many scientists believe there is no safe level of exposure to a carcinogen!"
Despite the significant evidence of potassium bromate’s harmful health effects, the food industry has long argued that it is of no concern in baked products. In addition,the industry claims potassium bromate is theoretically fully converted into potassium bromide, a similar yet non-carcinogenic chemical, during baking. But testing in many countries like the one done in the United Kingdom revealed that potassium bromate remains detectable after baking, with six out of six unwrapped breads and seven out of 22 packaged breads containing measurable levels of this carcinogen.
California is the only state in the United States to have taken any measures to warn residents of the dangers associated with this chemical, placing potassium bromate on its Proposition 65 list,which means that products that contain it must carry a cancer warning on their labels. However, no other regulatory agency has taken any action to regulate or remove this dangerous chemical from American grocery store shelves or from restaurants serving it to its guests or bakeries using it in their flour. Congress needs to overhaul this broken process in order to truly protect us from potentially cancer-causing chemicals such as potassium bromate. But for now, we will be protecting you and your family by only making our fresh products with flour that is FREE of Potassium Bromate. In the end it may cost us more money to buy this flour to produce our delicious breads, pastas and desserts however we feel that the health and well fare of you and your family are worth that extra expense.