After a spate of bad publicity over the use of an ingredient also used in the making of yoga mats, Subway confirmed that the chemical will be removed from all of its breads in a week.
The sandwich chain earlier this year drew criticism after a food blogger launched a petition urging the company to remove azodicarbonamide, an ingredient used as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner. A spokeswoman confirmed a report in which Subway’s chief marketing officer Tony Pace said the chain will have phased out the ingredient from its bread in the next week.
Azodicarbonamide is found in other products, including foods served at McDonald’s and Burger King. The chemical, however, is banned from use in foods in Great Britain, the European Union and Australia. A 1999 World Health Organization study found it induces asthma in humans.
In the U.S., the FDA says the ingredient can be “safely used” if it is intended for use as an “aging and bleaching ingredient” used in flour in an amount that doesn’t exceed 2.05 grams per 100 pounds of flour. It can also be used as a dough conditioner.
The use of the ingredient was the subject of blogger Vani Hari’s petition earlier this year. Pace said the company’s removal in the ingredient was occurring before the petition and that the move wasn’t in reaction to it.
Other recent examples of recipe changes by major food makers:
• Starbucks removed cochineal extract, a red dye made from crushed bugs, from its food and drinks after an online petition.
• PepsiCo removed brominated vegetable oil from Gatorade. An online petition had noted the ingredient’s link to flame retardants.
• Chick-fil-A has been removing artificial dyes and high-fructose corn syrup from dressings and sauces. The chain is also switching to chicken raised without antibiotics.The Associated Press contributed to this report.