Subway has announced that it will remove a dangerous chemical from its bread after a series of protests. The chemical in question is only used in American chains, while other countries are, reportedly, chemical-free.
The chemical, azodicarbonamide, was found by popular food blogger, Vani Hari. She runs the food blog, FoodBabe.com, and brought to light the dangerous chemical. She pointed out that it was in almost all breads in the United States, but not in other countries, and then went on to explain why. According to Hari, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), based in the United Kingdom, has determined that the chemical is linked to asthma.
Its use is prohibited in Australia and Europe due to the dangers it possesses. When heated, the agent is linked to tumors and cancers. Those found using it in Singapore can be jailed for up to 15 years and fined up to $450,000.
Azodicarbonamide is used in non-edible products, like shoes and yoga mats. It was never designed to be eaten, yet Subway has decided to put it into its breads. Hari explained that it works in the same way for bread as it does for yoga mats, by putting air into the dough. This makes the bread light and fluffy, but at the risk of the health of the company’s customers.
She started a petition, which saw over 50,000 people sign it. After bringing the concern to light, Subway announced that it would remove the dangerous chemical from all of its bread; it would take some time, but the company is in the process, now. Hari saw it as a victory and commended the company for listening to the people.
The sandwich giant has been praised in the past for offering healthy fast food. Even President Barack Obama praised the company for making the life of parents much easier. There is no need to argue with children to get them to pick the healthier choice, because whatever they eat is going to be good for them.
That was the idea, until Hari realized that there was this chemical in the bread. She was dismayed to realize that something she always believed to be healthy turned out to not be the case. Despite having the stamp of approval from the American Heart Association – marketing how good the fast food company was for weight loss and low-calorie intake – it turned out that the bread was potentially dangerous.
According to the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) the agent is not dangerous, as long as the amount is below “45 parts per million.” It is approved for use as a dough conditioner and in cereal.
Hari hopes that, with Subway making changes towards a healthier approach, other fast food companies will also change. She also wants people to pay close attention to the food they eat and what is really included in that food.
The good news for the sandwich giant is there is no need to completely change. The American stores will be able to switch to the ingredients already used in other stores around the world. Subway is currently working on removing the dangerous chemical from all its bread, so it will be azodicarbonamide-free shortly.
By Alexandria Ingham