Subway says they plan to remove the chemical, azodicarbonamide from their bread after a food blogger launched a petition this week asking them to stop using the ingredient.
A representative for Subway says the change was underway before the petition was launched, “The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon,” Subway said in a statement. “We were already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts.”
Vani Hari, the FoodBabe.com food blogger who takes credit for the removal of yellow dyes in Kraft’s Mac & Cheese products for children, has been researching the company’s bread ingredients since 2012.
“I commend Subway for finally responding to me and now over 57,000 concerned citizens. Their swift action is a testament to what power petitions and individuals who sign them can have,” Hari said. “I’d like to note that current Subway sandwiches still have this ingredient, and urge everyone not to eat their sandwich bread until they have finally removed the chemical.”
In her petition targeting Subway, Hari noted that the azodicarbonamide is used in bread “as a bleaching agent” is also used to make yoga mats and shoe rubber. The petition noted that Subway doesn’t use the ingredient in its breads in Europe, Australia or other parts of the world.
The Food and Drug Administration considers azodiacarbonamide safe when used as an “aging or bleaching” ingredient in cereal flour if it does not exceed 45 parts per million. It is also approved for use as a “dough conditioner” in the same proportions.
“As part of FDA’s overall commitment to ensure the safety of the food supply, the agency uses an extensive, science-based process to evaluate the safety of food additives,” said FDA spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman. “Under FDA regulations, safety for food additives means that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm when an additive is used within the intended conditions of use.”
Azodicarbonamide is used in other food products, but Hari said she targeted on Subway because of the healthy image they try to promote. Subway has endorsement deals with Olympic athletes.
“What really upset me was it was something I always ate while on the road that I thought was healthy — their nine-grain bread and veggie sub and all the marketing about low calories and weight loss,” said Hari. “They have an American Heart Association logo and stamp on their sandwiches,” she added. “I really had the illusion of healthy eating. When I saw what was actually in the bread, I was horrified.”
The World Health Organization has linked this chemical additive to respiratory issues, allergies and asthma, and it is banned in Europe and Australi, but azodiacarbonamide is legal in the United States and Canada.
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