I'm writing this article to share the information I have come across during my journey while returning back to school. I recently had a science class that I needed to create a science project and a fully documented report to go with it. I decided to keep it simple an chose bread mold. Eww. Yes, fairly simple - set up the bread in individual containers and record daily observations. Wrong! I failed miserably, I had no mold whatsoever. How could I have an inconclusive experiment? I've bought bread from the store many other times and when trying not to produce any mold, by the end of the week our loaf was covered with turquoise spots. Mold is extremely easy to form which I'm sure anyone who's eaten bread knows. I purchased fresh, soft, white and wheat bread that had an expiration date a week from the purchase date from a large store which I love to shop at so I won't mention the name. I chose this brand of bread because I didn't want to use the natural type of bread we use which is a more expensive. This failed experiment caused me to write an even longer report that was difficult to compose because I had to research why everything did not work.
Well, I believe that everything happens for a reason and it's always worked out for the better. I learned some crazy things that I wouldn't have expected to find from this failed experiment. The average human consumes 55 loaves of bread a year or 4, 376 loaves in a lifetime (Maltby, 2008). Consuming bread is cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables (Perera, 2010). Bread has been a part of ancient egyptian diet and workers were paid in bread to build the pyramids (Madigan, 2002). Chemicals in bread such as ammonium sulfate are used for yeast to make bread rise which is commonly used for soil fertilizer. Wait what? The ingredient list on the bread packaging made me investigate what each one was because the words were an average of 14 letters that I couldn't pronounce. The ingredients that bothered me the most were the anti-microbial inhibitors aka preservatives such as calcium propionate and calcium iodate used to keep mold from forming. If large amounts of calcium propionate are ingested it may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (Cornell University, 2005). Calcium ionate is known in the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm (Pestell, 2004). If the average bread consumption for one person is 1 loaf per week, what would be considered a large consumption? Extensive long term studies have not been evaluated.
I am not writing this to scare everyone away from eating bread, I love bread too and eat it often. I am merely trying to share information I've gathered with everyone who reads this to be more aware about what we are consuming and giving our precious children to eat. If consumers stop buying products produced with harmful chemicals and purchase products only made with ingredients that are safe for our children, the companies who make these products will have to change their recipes. I've found yummy breads without chemicals that can last for longer periods with refrigeration or freezing. I challenge you to read the ingredients you are using to cook with tonight and if you don't know what they all are, look it up, it may surprise you. By the way, my breads still haven't molded and it's been a month since I purchased it. That's just not right! I've included pictures to show day 1 and day 30. There also is a slice that I sprayed with water which by all means should've produced mold easily, but was unsuccessful even after 30 days still no mold.
Cornell University Environmental Health and Safety. (2005). Calcium propionate. Retrieved from http://www.ehs.cornell.edu/labels/rtk_requestlabel.cfm?function=review
Madigan, B. (2002). Ancient egyptian bread making. Retrieved from http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/egypt/dailylife/breadmaking.htm
Maltby, C., Burke, A., Brinkworth, M. (Producers). (2008). Human footprint – Bread consumption [DVD]. Available from http://ecopreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2008/05/26/national-geographics-human-foot-print-bread-consumption/
Perera, Q. (2010). Bread, wheat flour essential in today's world. Retrieved from http://sundaytimes.lk/100725/BusinessTimes/bt48.html
Pestell. (2002). Material safety data sheet - Calcium iodate. Retrieved from http://www.pestell.com/msds/Calcium%20Iodate%2063.5.pdf