We hate to say it – because we love America – but in the US, your bread can contain ingredients that also appear in yoga mats, pesticides, hair straighteners, explosives, petroleum products, you name it. Bread in Germany, on the other hand, contains less additives and preservatives due to age-old baking traditions, strict food laws and rigorous quality standards for bakers.
The USA has liberal laws for the application of pesticides. Germany, on the other hand, passed a law to reduce the use of Glyphosate, with a complete exit by 2024. Other potentially harmful substances commonly used in American bread are GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), whereas they are banned in Germany. The table below compares the use of "weird stuff" between Germany and the USA.
|GMOs||Banned||Allowed||Potentially many unknown risks||Make crops more resistant|
|Potassium Bromate||Banned||Allowed||Linked to kidney and thyroid cancer||Potent oxidixing agent used to stranghten dough and give it an appealing white color|
|Azodicarbonamide (ADA)||Banned||Allowed||Linked to asthma and cancer||Chemical substance used to bleach and leaven dough|
|Glyphosate||Staged Exit / Banned||Allowed||Linked to cancer||Chemical weedkiller|
|Butylated Hydroxy Toluene (BHT) / Anisole (BHA)||Limited||Allowed||Carcinogen||Man-made antioxidant used as a preservative|
|Benzoyl Peroxide & Calcium Peroxide||Banned||Allowed||Destroys nutrients||Bleaching agent added to flour|
German sourdough bread has a long shelf life thanks to the acid in the sourdough. American bread may also have a long shelf life, but for the wrong reasons: It’s so full of chemicals that it can sit on shelves for weeks, without getting dry or moldy. Some of these chemicals can be harmful to human health.
The water used to bake the bread is just as important. In Germany, chlorination of tap water is unheard of. Over 98 percent of US water supply systems, on the other hand, add chlorine and fluoride, which can negatively affect bread quality.
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