Food bloggers and the public alike are celebrating the victory of Vani Hari, founder of FoodBabe.com. After discovering that Subway sandwiches featured an ingredient that was less than deserving of the corporate “Eat Fresh” slogan, she collected over 50,000 signatures demanding that Subway discontinue the use of azodicarbonamide. Subway has announced that it will be discontinuing the use of the chemical currently found in the sandwich-maker’s bread, but is also used in yoga mats, shoe soles and other rubber products elsewhere in the marketplace.
Last year, Vani Hari, founder of FoodBabe.com, successfully petitioned Kraft to remove the neon orange dye used in its macaroni and cheese. There has been no word from McDonald’s and other fast food companies that are still using azodicarbonamide in their foods. My blog “Disgusting Ingredients in McDonald’s Burgers” revealed that McDonald’s is also using the potentially-toxic chemical.
Azodicarbonamide is a chemical primarily used in the rubber and plastics industries, as well as in some pesticides. It is used as a flour-bleaching agent that supposedly makes bread dough easier to work with. Lengthy exposure to the chemical has been linked to asthma. The chemical industry’s own safety data sheets show that it “may be toxic to kidneys” and that repeated or prolonged exposure to axodicarbonamide “can produce target organ damage.” Yet, somehow Subway, McDonald’s and other fast food makers have considered it acceptable in their food products. While these safety data sheets reflect workplace exposures, surely the long-term effects of consuming a chemical from the rubber industry warrants further investigation and should never have been used in the food industry at all.
In a statement to the Associated Press, a Subway representative indicated that “The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.” The company hasn’t given a date for which the chemical will be completely removed from its food products.
In an article with CBC News, Vani Hari said, “Their swift action is a testament to what power petitions can have.”
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