Who doesn’t love a slab of bread and butter with their fish or toast with jam. It is another staple of our lives and yet when we pick up a loaf from the shelf do we really know whats gone into it or who makes? There is currently no legislation which forces manufacturers or bakers to include all the ingredients in their breads but whats the problem with that? its only flour and water right???? Myself and the Real Bread Campaign know somethings wrong. You can not make an informed choice if you don’t know what the facts are and similarly you cannot decide whether the bread you buy is right for you and your family if you don’t know what goes in to it or where it came from. The basic ingredients for bread are and should be: Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast. Since there is no legal requirement, as yet, to label any extras or additives in the bread it could contain ANYTHING!!!!!! But more likely your regular supermarket breads will contain these little beasties:
E300 L-Ascorbic acid, E926 Chlorine dioxide, Flour bleaching agents, Flour treatment agents, Enzyme preparations, Added fats, Chemical sprays, Added Sugar, Excessive Salt
Now who really wants that when its not needed. Further more the majority of our loaves are loaves are made by a hand full of companies in factories (80%) and Supermarkets (15%-17%) removing the social and physical baker of our communities. As there is only a handle of national producers, they supply bread all over the country using lorrys which travel for hundreds of miles.
So whats the problem?
1. Artificial additives and processing agents are bad for your health and its not helped by added fats and yeast.
2. Local bakeries use to be at the center of our communities (along with the pub) and we no longer have a large occupation of bakers but machines making our bread. Not only are bread sales the profit of a few shareholders but local bakeries have disappeared along with jobs.
3. As national distributors, bread factories create excessive amounts of carbon dioxide through diesel lorries where as baked in the shop have transport costs only for ingredients, less if they get their ingredients locally.
Who is to blame?
1. It seems almost silly to say but there is a massive monopoly on Bread. When you look at supermarket bread sales it is made up of the supermarkets own brand, Hovis, Warburtons and Kingsmill. These massive companies have the money to advertise and market their products to the masses and convince them that it is a wholesome healthy product even when its not. They should have responsiblity in providing the right info to their consumers.
2. Supermarkets do not display the extra ingredients of bread either but they also use false advertising such as ‘baked in store’ ‘oven fires’ when most of their products are pre baked and then ‘warmed up in store’ . They too do not need to label what goes in to their breads, though recent legislation says they must state the weight now. Bravo!
3. The government has not brought in legislation to force bread manufacturers to explain what has been added to their products. This is a massive flaw in the legal system for the food industry. The majority of products have to have what is exactly in it, so why not bread?!
What can I do?
1. Only have bread that is made of Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast plus natural extras for flavour like herbs and cheese. Gotta love abit of Foccacio.
2.The first thing you can do is stop buying those loaves from the supermarkets! Unless they are selling them for 12p because of a stupid sell by date then you may as well pick them up as they’ll only get chucked out any way.
3. Join the real bread campaign and help lobby the government into acting now rather then waiting for an eu resolution.
4.Buy from your local bakery that you know produces their breads on site. You can check on this map for where you can get real bread
5. Better still start making your own bread and bakes. Its easier then you might think and you can be safe in the knowledge you know exactly what is in your loaf.
Though there is no labeling laws for bread at the moment, the European union is currently in the process of legislation which will force producers to display their extra ingredients. I love to make my own bread but i admit that at the moment our local co-op always has bread for 12p that would be chucked away if we didnt buy it. its almost rude not to at that cheap.
Do you bake your own bread? What do you think about lack of labeling legislation?