Subway Removing Yoga Mat Chemical from Bread
Subway, one of the world’s biggest bread bakers, is removing a yoga mat chemical from its breads that raised the ire of an influential health activist and food blogger.
The world’s biggest sandwich chain says it’s in the process of removing the chemical known as Azodiacarbonamide from its sandwich breads — a chemical that Vani Hari, who runs the site FoodBabe.com, says is commonly used to increase elasticity in everything from yoga mats to shoe rubber to synthetic leather. It’s used for the same reason in bread, she says, as a dough conditioner.
Subway has used the ingredient as a “bread conditioner” which adds elasticity and whitens the dough. The chemical, though, is especially damning in the food industry because of its other broad uses in plastics, rubber and synthetic leather production.
Following Hari’s blog post making its rounds on social media, over 58,000 people signed a petition demanding that Subway stop using the chemical in its breads. “It’s not supposed to be food or even eaten for that matter,” Hari wrote on FoodBabe.com. “And it’s definitely not ‘fresh.’ We deserve the same safer food our friends get overseas.”
According to Subway’s statement, the company says it had already had the removal process underway and its actions were not a result of Hari’s outcry. “We are already in the process of removing Azodiacarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts despite the fact that it is USDA and FDA approved ingredient. The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.” The chemical is also approved by the FDA as a bleaching or aging ingredient in cereal flour, although the World Health Organization has linked the chemical to respiratory issues, including allergies and asthma.
Still, Hari has lauded Subway’s decision, but she asks fans to refrain from eating Subway until the chain gets the problem fixed.