Subway was forced to respond to complaints from customers after a popular food blogger revealed the fast food chain’s bread contained azodicarbonamide, a chemical used in yoga mats and shoe rubber. Azodicarbonamide is accepted for use in food products within the United States, but it is banned completely in several other countries.
In response to the Subway incident, several fast food restaurant chains have admitted that they also use the chemical. Despite Food Babe blogger Vani Hari’s insistence that the chemical is harmful, restaurant officials maintain that it is approved for use and is safe.
According to NBC News, McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb defended the chain’s use of the chemical, which can be found in its buns, bagels, and English muffins.
“Azodicarbonamide is commonly used throughout the baked goods industry, and this includes some of the bread goods on our menu," McComb said. "This ingredient, like all the ingredients we use, is available to consumers on our website.” She referred to the fact that McDonald’s hosts a comprehensive list of recipe ingredients on its site.
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Other popular restaurants with products that contain azodicarbonamide include Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Jack in the Box, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. The chemical is typically found in bread products.
Use of the chemical is technically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but reports from groups such as the World Health Organization and the Center for Science in the Public Interest claim that the chemical can cause respiratory issues in those that ingest it. For that reason, it is banned in the European Union and in Australia. Its exact degree of unhealthfulness, however, is widely disputed.
Starbucks, whose croissants currently contain chemicals such as azodicarbonamide, has been undergoing a transition to feature baked goods exclusively from San Francisco’s La Boulange bakery. According to company spokeswoman Linda Mills, the new La Boulange products do not contain azodicarbonamide.
“Our new La Boulange Bakery goods do not contain the ingredients. Our goal is to transition all the stores to La Boulange. We’re about halfway through that transition,” Mills said.
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Public outrage at the inclusion of azodicarbonamide demonstrates that Americans have an increased committment to healthier eating, or at least are thinking more about what they are ingesting.
Source: NBC News