The bread at Subway, said to be baked fresh, in-house each day, is made with a chemical that is also used to make yoga mats and rubber shoe soles. Well-known food blogger, Vani Hari says it is time to shine a light on the truth, and her work, along with 58,000 supporters, have forced a change: Subway has promised to remove the chemical called azodicarbonamide from its bread.
Although representatives for the sandwich makers say that efforts to remove the chemical were already underway, millions of people have been consuming the alleged “bleaching agent” for years without warning. The chemical is used in other food products that are consumed daily, and it is an approved ingredient by the USDA and the FDA, but is banned in Europe and Australia. With Subway now in the public eye, the time has come to make major changes. Other companies are taking note to avoid the negative publicity and possible law suits.
Would people, who eat at Subway regularly, make the same food choices with the information that yoga mat and shoe rubber chemicals are a part of the deal? The topic began when Vani Hari, who runs a site called FoodBabe, filed a petition against Subway for its use of azodicarbonamide, which causes “respiratory issues, allergies and asthma,” as reported by the World Health Organization. Hari has challenged other food providers, such as Kraft and Chick-fil-A, on many issues via her site, both in relation to this chemical, and for the use of other harmful chemicals in food. This time the home of the “Five-Dollar-Foot-Long” was targeted because of what Hari sees as a direct contradiction to the “Eat Fresh!” slogan and its claim to help Americans be more health conscious.
Health in the United States is taking a leap forward as more people become aware of what is good to put into their own bodies and the bodies of their children. However, without knowledge of each ingredient in every prepared meal, how can people guarantee healthy eating? When Subway, and other food makers do not disclose what customers are purchasing and consuming, Vani Hari argues that the claim to health cannot just be made. With the slogan, “Eat Fresh!” Subway has worked to portray the fast-food sandwich chain in a positive and healthy light, but with the ingredient that “produces the air within the foam of a yoga mat,” baked into the bread, FoodBabe questions how “fresh” customers are eating.
The trend toward organically grown foods, pasture-raised animals, and the inclusion of more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in a daily diet has led other companies to remove chemicals from popular products as well. According to the Huffington Post, PepsiCo agreed to remove a harmful flame retardant chemical that the company had been adding to its Gatorade beverages. Kraft removed yellow dyes from several of its macaroni and cheese products after Vani Hari petitioned on her FoodBabe website.
Now, the removal of azodicarbonamide, a yoga mat and shoe sole chemical, from the bread at Subway is another victory for the Food Babe, and for consumers everywhere. As far as Vani Hari is concerned, it is time for the sandwich maker to join the movement toward true health and to live up to its slogan. With close to 60,000 supporters of her petition, Subway is forced to make a change, but the removal of the harmful chemical has not happened yet, so FoodBabe urges people to eat elsewhere until the chemicals is no longer listed as an ingredient.
By K. Corrine Van Vliet