Subway to Remove Chemical From Bread

Food blogger claims azodicarbonamide is used in yoga mats and shoe rubber.

Thursday, Feb 6, 2014  |  Updated 11:14 AM CDT
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Subway says it's in the process of removing a chemical from its bread as part of an ongoing effort to improve its recipes.

The announcement comes after a food blogger launched a petition this week asking the Milford-based sandwich chain to stop using azodicarbonamide.

Azodicarbonamide is used mainly as a blowing agent by rubber and plastics industries, according to the World Health Organization, though it is also used as a food additive to bleach and improve flour in some breads. Its use in foods is banned in Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia but not in the United States.

The WHO has analyzed studies conducted on workers exposed to the chemical. "Case reports and epidemiological studies in humans have produced abundant evidence that azodicarbonamide can induce asthma, other respiratory symptoms, and skin sensitization in exposed workers," according to the WHO.

It's possible for azodicarbonamide to break down to form semicarbazide, a chemical that is considered a carcinogen in mice, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Vani Hari, who runs the FoodBabe.com blog, launched a campaign this week to ask Subway to remove the chemical, which she says is used to make yoga mats and shoe rubber, from its bread.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Subway, which released a statement through a public relations firm Wednesday afternoon.

"We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide 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 statement read.

Hari has targeted other food companies including Kraft and Chick-fil-A for the chemicals in their products as well.

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