A British supermarket has been slammed for selling burned loaves of bread and buns in store, over fears they may pose a cancer risk – despite the fact the same bread has been sold in store since the 1980s.
Sainsbury’s sells its “well fired” loaves with blackened and burned edges and a browned outside for people who prefer their bread overcooked, but the retail giant has now been caught up in a health controversy over the product.
After several customers shared photos of the loaves online, experts have now hit out and claimed customers need to be warned of the potential risks of consuming the loaves, as they may contain a chemical that could cause cancer.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) reportedly claimed the products could contain higher than usual levels of cancer-causing chemical acrylamide. Head of policy at CIEH, Tony Lewis, told the Telegraph: “If Sainsbury’s are going to sell these loaves they should really come with a health warning telling people to cut the top off.”
Guidelines released earlier this year by the British Hospitality Association stated overcooked bread shouldn’t be sold to customers and should instead be thrown in the bin.
People right across the world have enjoyed burned and blackened toast and even baked bread for decades. Indeed, the loaves have been sold in the British stores since the ’80s, proving a huge hit with customers.
According to the store’s website, the overcooked loaves of bread are sold at 75p (AU $1.33). Sainsbury’s told the Telegraph that despite the black colour of the well-fired loaves, the acrylamide levels are “well within the FSA benchmark levels”.
The news outlet claims that, generally, the darker the colour of the bread in these cases, the higher the risk – but a number of other factors including storage and sugar content can also affect the acrylamide levels.
According to The Age, many burnt foods – even crispy roast potatoes – contain “worryingly high” levels of a notorious cancer-causing toxin.
Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) completed a study measuring the amount of acrylamide inside foods such as chips, roast potatoes and toast in 2015. They discovered that the more burnt the bread was – or the crispier the potato or chip – the higher the level of acrylamide.
The organisation’s chief scientific advisor suggested at the time that bread should be toasted to “the lightest colour acceptable”, and the potatoes only to “a light golden colour”.