Changes are coming to the food chain.
The sandwich chain Subway says it will stop using azodiacarbonamide in its bread, following protests over the controversial ingredient.
A variation of Azodicarbonamide has commercial uses and is used in the production of some foamed plastics, like exercise mats. The use of the ingredient, which is banned in Europe, has prompted a number of protests over the past several months, and it now appears changes are coming.
“We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts despite the fact that it is a USDA and FDA approved ingredient,” Subway said in a statement. “The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.”
Subway and other commercial bakers use the controversial chemical for the purpose of strengthening dough. It appears in grocery store and other restaurant breads as well, including McDonalds, Starbucks, and Arby’s. One of the breakdown products, derived from the original substance, is called urethane, a recognized carcinogen. Azodiacarbonamide is banned in other the UK, Europe and Australia.
The American Bakers Association told CNN: “Past FDA sampling results have indicated appropriate low level use in products. As a dough conditioner it has a volume/texture effect on the finished loaf. It is a functional ingredient that improves the quality of bread and any substitutes are likely not to work as well as ADA (azodicarbonamide).”
Grocery store breads and restaurant breads also contain this chemical. Other major fast food chains have products with the ingredient too, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Arby’s.
A 1999 report from an international group of health experts, published by the World Health Organization, says some studies suggest that the chemical can induce asthma, based on evidence from people with symptoms and employees of facilities where the chemical is manufactured or used.
However, use of the chemical in the workplace is very different, and carries much greater exposure than eating a tiny amount in bread. The movement to remove the chemical was led by Vani Hari, creator of the website foodbabe.com.
“It’s not supposed to be food or even eaten for that matter. And it’s definitely not ‘fresh,'” she said on her website. ” We deserve the same safer food our friends get overseas.”