Food Industry Current Affairs
India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)/ Agreements including in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry etc.
These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi. Besides, both leaders also issued joint statement.
Signed Agreements are
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism
- MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange.
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development
- MoU on exchange of information on training programmes of diplomats.
- Agreement on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry.
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audiovisual programmes.
Besides, both countries initiated talks to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in order to augment investments flowing between the two countries as it will protect the interest of investors.
India considers Kyrgyzstan as a valuable partner in common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.
Highlights of Joint statement issued
Both countries have agreed on the need to coordinate and work closely in addressing and overcoming these challenges for the common benefit. They also reviewed cooperative engagement in the field of defence and sought to expand joint military exercises including the ‘Khanjar’ series of military exercises which has become an annual event. They also decided to build on the development cooperation including in capacity building and training. On economic ties both sides agreed to encourage engagement in healthcare, tourism, IT, agriculture, mining and energy.
The Union Government has banned use of potassium bromate (KbrO3) as a food additive as it is carcinogenic.
Decision in this regard was taken by Union Health Ministry based on the recommendation of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
FSSAI had recommended the Health Ministry to remove potassium bromate from the list of permissible food additives after a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found out that it is widely prevalent in bread and refined flour
- The study of CSE had found that 84% of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including buns and pav tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate.
- These two food additives are banned in many countries and listed as hazardous for public health.
- However, FSSAI has banned use of potassium bromate and not potassium iodate. But as far as potassium iodate is concerned, it has been referred to a scientific panel.
How and Why Potassium bromate is used?
- Potassium bromate is used as chemical additive in food items in the form of white crystals or powder.
- It is added to aid baking process as it strengthens the bread dough in order to raise it higher.
- The KbrO3 powder bleaches the bread dough and increases its elasticity by making tiny bubbles that help the bread rise.
- In India, the legal permissible limit to add Potassium bromate as chemical additive in food is 50 parts per million (ppm). But, high dosages of it are harmful.
How it is harmful?
A study conducted in Japan in 1982 has found that potassium bromate causes cancer. Following this, many countries including Japan, China, Australia and UK etc. have banned it. Some studies also have showed that potassium bromate is a “genotoxic carcinogen” i.e. a chemical agent that can damage genetic information, causing mutations.