Quantcast

Subway to Remove Chemical Found in Shoe Soles and Yoga Mats From Its Bread

Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows for the use of azodicarbonamide under certain conditions, but that doesn't mean it belongs in your food.

After all, it's a chemical that is used to make yoga mats and shoe soles.

That's likely why Subway announced that it would stop using the chemical to strengthen and condition the dough used for its famous six-inch and $5 footlong sandwiches.

A Subway restaurant in New York City.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

"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, according to The Associated Press (AP). "The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon."

A Subway representative told the AP that a change was underway before Vani Hari, known as the blogger behind FoodBabe.com, launched a petition that garnered nearly 80,000 signatures. Still, nobody has been able to discern when "soon" will be.

"We know this is just a corporate spin and how big companies operate," Hari wrote in a recent post. "They don’t want us to know how much power we have over their decisions ... There’s been dead silence on their end. Every single reporter I talked with yesterday and today (over 30) has tried to get the same answer from Subway headquarters and they aren’t responding."

According to an ingredient list that was last revised in January, azodicarbonamide is found in its nine-grain wheat, Italian (white), Italian herbs and cheese, parmesan/oregano, honey oat, roasted garlic, Monterey cheddar and sourdough breads. Subway does not use the chemical in the sandwiches the company sells in Europe or Australia—two continents where azodicarbonamide is banned.

McDonald's also uses the additive for the bun on its McRib sandwich. The company behind the golden arches says that the variation it uses "shouldn't be confused" with the variety used to form yoga mats. According to CNN, Starbucks and Arby's have also used azodicarbonamide.

When speaking to CNN, a representative from the American Bakers Association defended the use of the agent in bread.

"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," an unnamed representative told the network. "It is a functional ingredient that improves the quality of bread and any substitutes are likely not to work as well as [azodicarbonamide]."

A 1999 report published by the World Health Organization says the chemical can impact breathing and skin sensitivity after repeated exposure. Though the study is 15 years old, it appears to be the best resource available on the chemical. While the experts said the human impact needed further evaluation, the study issued a warning.

"The level of risk is uncertain; hence, exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible," the study reads.

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Elva Etienne / Moment / Getty Images

By Ketura Persellin

Gift-giving is filled with minefields, but the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) got your back, so you don't need to worry about inadvertently giving family members presents laden with toxic chemicals. With that in mind, here are our suggestions for gifts to give your family this season.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Cheri Bantilan MS, RD, CD

Garlic is an ingredient that provides great flavor to dishes and can be found in most kitchens across the globe.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Claire O'Connor

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it's the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Echinacea is a group of flowering plants that belong to the daisy family, along with plants like sunflowers, chicory, chamomile, and chrysanthemums.

Read More Show Less
One of the 25 new Long Beach Transit hybrid gasoline-electric buses on April 23, 2009. Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images

In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.

When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.

Read More Show Less