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November 22, 1947


Author Affiliations

Medical Corps, Department of the Army; Medical Corps, Department of the Army; Chicago

From the Medical Nutrition Laboratory, an installation under the jurisdiction of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army (Silver, Johnson, Kark, Monahan); the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the Armed Forces, an installation under the jurisdiction of the Quartermaster General, Department of the Army (Zevin); and the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Illinois Neuropsychiatric Institute (Klein).

JAMA. 1947;135(12):757-760. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890120011005

The treatment of flour with chemical agents is a widespread commercial practice. In general these chemical agents are applied either for "bleaching" or for "improving" the flour. Common usage has made the term bleaching synonymous for both of these effects. The main reasons for using chemical improvers are that they enable bakers to produce loaves of bread which appeal to the palate, allow millers to use any supply of sound wheat for the production of bread flour with uniform properties and circumvent the waste and spoilage which occur when flour is aged naturally during storage.

Although flour bleaching was first used widely at the turn of the century, during the past twenty-five years approximately 90 per cent of all white wheat flour milled in North America and in England (among other countries) has been treated with nitrogen trichloride (NC13).1 Flour treated in this way produces a loaf of

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