In some varieties of bread sold at Subway there is a chemical that might seem hard to pronounce and unfamiliar. The chemical azodicarbonamide has been receiving a great deal of attention of late. Besides in Subway bread, the chemical can also be found in shoe soles and yoga mats to give them elasticity.
The chemical however will be taken out as an ingredient in Subway bread said a company official. The Subway official said the sub chain was in the process of eliminating the chemical as an ingredient in its bread.
Subway said the conversion of eliminating the chemical would be done soon. The chemical is used by many commercial bakers to strengthen the dough, but has not been tested properly.
One of the by-products when the original chemical is broken down is known as urethane, a carcinogen that is well known, said one organization attempting to have it banned.
Another by-product of the chemical when it breaks down is semicarbazide, which has a negligible risk for humans, but was found to cause cancers of the blood vessels and lungs in mice.
Health safety groups are advocating the reduction of the amount the chemical can be used. They are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to consider if the Delaney amendment, which bans food additives that cause cancer in animals and humans, requires the FDA to bar is use.
The FDA said the additive is not allowed to exceed 0.0045% by weight of flour when used to condition dough.
The American Baker’s Association has said that past samplings done by the FDA resulted in appropriate low-level use of the products.
As a conditioner for dough, the chemical has a texture and volume effect on a cooked loaf. It improves the bread quality and any other substitutes likely will not work to the same quality said the ADA.
Grocery store and restaurant breads also contain the same chemical. Other major rapid serve chains have certain products with the same ingredient, including Arby’s, Starbucks and McDonald’s.
McDonald’s responded to critics concerns over the chemical that is in their sandwich buns for the McRib sandwich. However, it still uses the chemical for that product.