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Consumers must be made aware of “yoga mat” chemical in bread

The DA in the Eastern Cape will be taking the issue of SASKO’s alleged use of the potentially harmful “yoga mat” chemical in bread to parliament.

Bread is the staple food of thousands of poor people in the province, who are unaware that their daily food contains the chemical Azodicarbonamide (ADA).   SASKO, as the largest bread flour producer in the province continues to produce and sell products containing ADA to unsuspecting and unwitting consumers, whose health is being placed at potential risk.

ADA is not listed as an ingredient on the packaging of SASKO bread and flour.  It would seem that the company has chosen not to do so, because ADA has been permitted through legislation to be used in concentrations of less than 45 parts per million. ADA or the “yoga mat” chemical is used to make plastic and rubber shoes, flip-flops and yoga mats more pliable.  It is added to flour or bread to make it whiter, softer and to improve shelf life. ADA has been banned in Australia, the UK and some countries in the Europe.

According to the World Health Organisation ADA is known to cause respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies and skin problems.  Scientists are of the opinion that ADA has the potential of causing cancer.

It is a matter of concern that SASKO, who already has the lion’s share of the market in flour sales in the Eastern Cape, continues using a product that is potentially harmful to the consumer. I have asked my colleague in the national parliament, Annette Steyn, to ask/put questions to the ministers of Agriculture and of Health, regarding the permissibility of the use of ADA without disclosing its use.  While companies who use this additive have given vague indications that the use of ADA will be phased out, they cannot be allowed to do this of their own volition and without categoric disclosure.

Awareness is needed in the corporate environment and amongst consumers.  The people most affected by this potential health risk are the poor people of the Eastern Cape who do not have access to information about ADA. They are the very people who need the most protection from questionable foodstuffs that could compromise their already precarious health status.

Issued by: Athol Trollip (MPL)
Leader in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature
27 May 2014
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