My attention was caught by this issue when it been discussed at TV Alhijrah. I believed in the morning talk show. I was hurried to go out but managed to notice that this substance is dangerous but we all consumed it through the flour. The guess also mentioned that it was banned in Europe, Japan, China and most recent Indonesia. However he added that in Malaysia this substance is still allow to use in our flour. Interestingly the product that consisted Benzoyl Peroxide will use the line " mengandungi Benzoyl Peroxide yang dibenarkan.".
So Google to get more information. Basically Benzoyl Peroxide was used to whiten the flour. It also to cut short the oxidant process (correct me if I wrong). Natural aging where the flour oxidize with oxygen in the air naturally would take about atleast 10 days. But by adding the Benzoyl Peroxide the process will only take two days. So for business aspect it is good.
So please read what I found here.
Why add Benzoyl peroxide?
In the past, Benzoyl peroxide was not added into the flour. The processed flour must be stored for 20 to 30 days. This allowed the air to oxidize beta-carotene in flour. Only then we can use it to make bread and other flour products. That is why flour gradually gets whiter as time passes.
By adding Benzoyl peroxide, manufacturer can reduce flour maturity period from 20-30 days to 2-3 days.
What is Benzoyl peroxide?
This substance is a type of food additive used to improve flour quality during factory processing. As it is not stable, Benzoyl peroxide will convert back to benzoyl and stain the flour. Since this substance is a strong oxidant, it is also used as chemical whitener. WHO suggests daily dosage of only 40mg/kg. And the European Union banned the use of Benzoyl peroxide in 1997.
Whitener’s harm to our body
1. Upon entering our body, the liver has to neutralize Benzoyl peroxide. This is the reason why this substance is bad for those with weak liver.
2. Benzoyl peroxide also contains some selenium and lead. That is why EU banned its use in 1997.
3. This additive will destroy nutrient content in flour. It oxidizes beta carotene, affect vitamin A content and causes the loss of vitamin E and K. It even has some influence on vitamin B1 and B2.
4. Long term consumption of flour and its products which contain Benzoyl peroxide may cause chronic intoxication. This is especially harmful for the liver.
5. Beijing Medical University and Xiehe Medical University’s joint publication in 1997 stated it may cause cancer.
Additives are found everywhere. We must be cautious of these additives to reduce risking our health.