Months after Subway restaurants announced it would remove from its bread a chemical that is also used in the making of yoga mats, McDonald’s has now come under fire for using the same ingredient.
That the popular fast food chain uses the chemical should really have come as no surprise. It was reported in February by NBC News at the same time Subway was dealing with fallout from the revelation.
The social media buzz about the presence of azodicarbonamide in McDonald’s food seems to have coincided with the annual autumn release of its popular McRib sandwich. Those responding to tweets and postings on other sites seemed to have jumped to conclusions. The assumption of some was that the chemical, commonly referred to as ADA, was used in the meat portion of the McRib.
But, as a blog from Phoenix New Times points out, just because the pork in the sandwich sports a springy texture and has ridges meant to give the illusion that the meat once had a rib in it, does not mean that it is filled with a yoga mat chemical. On the contrary, just as was the case with Subway, ADA appears only in McDonald’s bread.
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Unlike Subway, who agreed months ago to stop using the chemical, McDonald’s has stood by the ingredient and started responding directly to tweets explaining the use of ADA and why it is in their bread.
“The truth is a small amount of azodicarbonamide, a common flour-bleaching ingredient, is used in our McRib bun. This is a common food additive and is used in many items on your grocer’s shelves, including many hot dog buns and other bread products that you probably already purchase,” the statement explains. “It is regulated under the FDA and is considered safe. It is not a yoga mat, plastic or rubber.
“A variation of azodicarbonamide has commercial uses and is used in the production of some foamed plastics, like exercise mats,” the statement adds. “But this shouldn’t be confused with the food-grade variation of this ingredient.”
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The ingredient, McDonald’s says in the FAQs, is present in every bun the company serves, with the exception of its Bacon Clubhouse Sandwiches.
Although approved by the FDA for use in food in the United States, the chemical has been banned for food use in Europe and Australia.