Subway Says It’s Removing A Controversial Chemical From Its Bread

These days it seems like if there’s an ingredient in food sold to the masses with even the slightest whiff of controversy around it, someone will root it out and start a campaign to get rid of it. Thus, Subway now says it will remove a chemical from its bread — one that’s banned in Europe but legal in the U.S. — after a food blogger started a petition against it.

Of course, in Subway’s statement about Azodicarbonamide, an ingredient that apparently increases elasticity in the bread, there’s no mention of the popular food blogger behind FoodBabe.com, Vani Hari. She started a petition against the stuff which has earned 58,000 signatures to date, reports USA Today.

The chemical is also used in yoga mats, shoe rubber and synthetic leather, she says.

“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 company says in a statement. “The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.”

While Subway isn’t saying, “Yes, we’re bowing to the pressure of this campaign,” there’s always a bigger campaign out there, one that might be somewhat silent but is reflected in the way consumers have changed their eating habits.

Eating healthy and making sure food is safe have become important to American consumers in recent years, and companies have started to respond. Just last month General Mills said it would remove genetically modified ingredients from Cheerios, reflecting the changing habits and desires of its customers.

“I commend Subway for finally responding to me and now over 58,000 concerned citizens. Their swift action is a testament to what power petitions and individuals can have,” Hari said. ” I’d like to note that current Subway sandwiches still have this ingredient, and I urge everyone not to eat their sandwich bread until they have finally removed the chemical.”

Subway to remove chemical from bread [USA Today]

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  1. PhillyDom says:

    Why are companies so reluctant to acknowledge that they’re changing policies due to consumer action? Isn’t listening to customer concerns and satisfying them a good thing?

  2. craftman1 says:

    “The chemical is also used in yoga mats, shoe rubber and synthetic leather, she says.”

    This is a pretty asinine argument. Anyone serious about the scientific method should be asking questions about the effects of the ingestion of azodiacarbonamide or its byproducts. The obvious emotional response that Ms. Hari wants is for people to imagine eating a foam yoga mat, and getting angry that those types of things are in our bread.

    Educate yourself. When found in dough, Azodiacarbonamide decomposes into gases (i.e. nice bubbly bread) and stable biurea, which Wikipedia says, “[u]pon exposure…is rapidly eliminated from the body through excretion.”

    Even if you agree with the whole non-processed food movement (which on some levels I certainly do, and follow it myself), don’t subscribe to lazy science just because your side is the one making progress.