Fact Check: Viral message makes a false claim about addition of benzoyl peroxide to packaged wheat flour; the chemical is not carcinogenic
A long message in Hindi is viral on social media platforms including Facebook with the claim that wheat flour manufactured by big brands contains benzoyl peroxide which is harmful to humans.
A long message in Hindi is viral on social media platforms including Facebook with the claim that wheat flour manufactured by big brands contains benzoyl peroxide which is harmful to humans. The message starts by asking why insects don’t fall into packaged flour, and the answer follows stating that it is due to the presence of benzoyl peroxide in flour.
The claim in Hindi goes as “पैकिंग आटा में #कीड़े क्यों नही पड़ते ??आंखें खोल देने वाला सच --- एक
When translated, it claims: “Why don't #worms appear in packed flour??
Eye opening truth ---
Try an experiment. Grind wheat flour and try to store it for 2 months. It is natural to see worms in the flour, *you will not be able to store flour. * Then how are these big flour brands storing it? This warrants some thinking. There is a #chemical – Benzoyl Peroxide, also known as 'flour improver'. * Its #permissible limit is 4 mg, but flour making firms hit up to 400 mg. What is the reason? Save the dough for a longer time. Kidneys of those consuming it would really get damaged.
Try to buy wheat yourself and get it ground yourself.
Shelf life of the flour as per the rule…
30 days in cold days
20 days in summer
In rainy days, it is reported to be 15 days.
Eat fresh flour, stay healthy... Be wise, put in some efforts to grind the #wheat. No readymade flour bag
Try only 3 changes
1. Use salt boil,
2. Grind the flour in #mill,
3. Drink water from #claypot, drink hot water in the morning...
Will get rid of half of the diseases
The claim was viral in 2022 also.
Fact check: The claim is false. Benzoyl peroxide is not added in wheat flour to prevent insects.
When searched using the keywords ‘Benzoyl peroxide wheat flour’, we found an article in a website cfs.gov.hk, stating that Benzoyl peroxide is a food additive that can be used as a flour treatment agent. It oxidizes the naturally occurring carotenoids in the flour which give it a yellow tint. The oxidized flour is whiter.
When the flour is made into food, most of the benzoyl peroxide is converted to benzoic acid, a commonly used preservative.
According to the International agency for Research on Cancer, benzoyl peroxide is not classified as a carcinogen.
A similar kind of claim was viral in 2021 too, in response to which Twitter handle ITC Cares replied to the queries of the consumers and issued a clarification that atta manufactured by them does not contain any preservatives or additives including Benzoyl Peroxide and is manufactured as per the standards prescribed under law.
Hence, the viral claim that benzoyl peroxide is being used in overdose in the manufacture of wheat flour by companies is false. Benzoyl peroxide is not used in packaged flour and it is not classified as a carcinogen as claimed.