Subway has reportedly announced plans to remove azodicarbonamide from its breads after a food blogger’s petition criticized the restaurant chain for including “the same chemical used to make yoga mats, shoe soles, and other rubbery objects” in its U.S. products. Owned by Doctor’s Associates Inc., Subway apparently released a media statement confirming that it had started phasing out the ingredient before FoodBabe.com’s Vani Hari launched her campaign, which garnered 60,000 signatures and sent readers to the company’s Facebook page to complain. “We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts despite the fact that it is a USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] and FDA [Food and Drug Administration] approved ingredient. The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon,” a Subway spokesperson was quoted as saying. See Associated Press and CNN, February 6, 2014; The Independent, February 7, 2014.
Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has harnessed the media attention to insist that FDA bar the use of azodicarbonamide in all food products, claiming that at least one byproduct of the chemical is a recognizable carcinogen. “Azodicarbonamide has long been used by commer- cial bakers to strengthen dough, but has been poorly tested,” said CSPI Senior Scientist Lisa Lefferts in a February 4, 2014, press release. “Considering that many breads don’t contain azodicarbonamide and that its use slightly increases exposure to a carcinogen, this is hardly a chemical that we need in our food supply.”