Five chain stores bake questionable bread: report

By Ted Chen, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — On the heels of the Top Pot Bakery scandal, a magazine yesterday announced that it has uncovered five other major chain bakeries selling questionable products, which may be harmful to people’s health after long-term consumption.

CommonWealth Magazine (康健雜誌) tested various popular items offered by How Sweet Bakery (幾分甜), Yamazaki Baking Co. (山崎麵包), Best Bakery (順成蛋糕), Sunmerry (聖瑪莉), and Milk Sweet (米哥烘培) at SGS Taiwan, a leading inspection and verification company. The tests revealed several concerns in the products, as they contained inadvisably high amounts of sodium, trans fats and saturated fat. In addition, traces of aluminum were found in the leavening agent used to make certain baked goods such as scones and donuts, according to the magazine.

Most notably, testing revealed that sugared donuts sold by Sunmerry and Best Bakery contained traces of aluminum. About 8.64 mg of aluminum is ingested with a single Sunmerry donut, the magazine said. Donuts sold by Sunmerry and Best Bakery contained aluminum rated at a potency of 138.3 mg/kg and 31.6 mg/kg respectively. According to the Nutritional Foundation of Taiwan (台灣營養基金會), ingestion of excessive aluminum may cause severe harm to one’s nervous system, leading to dementia and osteoporosis. Excessive Levels According to the magazine, a single slice of Sunmerry’s white toast contained as much as 358.1 mg of sodium, while white toast sold by Yamazaki, Milk Sweet, How Sweet and Best Bakery contained 276.6 mg, 182.5 mg, 195.4 mg, and 150 mg of sodium, respectively. The results are in stark contrast with the public’s wide acceptance of white toast as a more healthy food choice. Doctors stated that excessive intake of sodium may lead to heart disease.

In addition, soft French breads and other popular items such as croissants and pineapple bread contained excessive amounts of trans and saturated fats. In particular, Milk Sweet’s soft French breads were found to contain 1.6 g of trans fat per 100 g of bread. A person would exceed the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily trans fat intake by eating more than one of Milk Sweet’s donuts.

The magazine urged businesses to provide more comprehensive listings of ingredients, and reminded the public to avoid breads boasting of soft texture, strong alluring scent or strong flavors. The public needs to return to the basics of bread, such as the light oil and sugar composition of traditional French breads. The magazine also advised the public to be wary of the so-called gourmet breads if they are sold en masse by chain stores. High-quality bread is difficult to mass produce, as the process takes considerable labor, time and space, said the magazine. Consumers are advised to purchase breads from bakeries where the product is made on site, as opposed to branded chain stores that draw supplies from a centralized baking factory.