Huffington Post Article : Subway Restaurant Chain and Azodicarbonamide

By locarb Latest Reply 2014-03-05 15:12:02 -0600
Started 2014-03-01 12:46:33 -0600

Many of us have learned and commented on the ingredients and manufacture of food. Here's another example of chemicals used in food and heretofore unbeknownst to us. This article is excerpted from the Huntington Post and serves as "food for thought".

"Footlong fans breathed a sigh of relief at the beginning of February, when sandwich chain Subway announced that it was removing azodicarbonamide — a chemical used in shoe rubber and yoga mats — from its bread.

Though the World Health Organization has said that the chemical is safe for human consumption, some studies have suggested it could be linked with asthma and skin and respiratory problems. And when the chemical is baked, it forms another chemical that has been linked to cancer in animal studies, CBS News pointed out. A series of popular petitions circulated by blogger Vana Hari, who runs the website, have also argued the case that its efficacy as a "bleaching agent" in bread just isn't worth the potential health hazards.

It's been well-established at this point that azodicarbonamide is a relatively common ingredient in processed foods. But a newly released study by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, suggests that azodicarbonamide is far more common than we may have realized. EWG pored through the ingredient lists of more than 80,000 common grocery foods in an attempt to figure out which products contained the chemical. And they found it in nearly 500 items sold under 120 different brand names.

The list of foods runs the gamut from the "healthy" — Weight Watchers meals, Fiber One breads — to the obviously processed and indulgent — Entenmann's pastries, White Castle Cheeseburgers. You can see the whole thing on the EWG website. But we picked 13 highlights that caught our attention as we browsed through the list.

Pillsbury Artisan Dinner Rolls
White Castle Frozen Cheeseburgers
White Castle
Marie Callender's Flaky Croissant With Ham & Swiss
Marie Callender's
Entenmann's Raspberry Danish
Arnold Bakery Light 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Arnold Bakery
Little Debbie Cinnamon Rolls With Icing
Little Debbie
Tyson Mini Chicken Sandwiches
Fiber One Hamburger Buns
Fiber One
Sun-Maid Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread
Freihofer's White Bread
Hormel Country Crock Homestyle Stuffing
Sara Lee White Bread
Sara Lee
Smucker's Uncrustables Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly Sandwich

UPDATE: A previous version of this story highlighted Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread as a food that contains azodicarbonamide. Representatives from Nature's Own contacted The Huffington Post to say that the brand removed azodicarbonamide from all its products in the fall."

17 replies

PetiePal 2014-03-05 15:12:02 -0600 Report

For those of you who really enjoy Subway, (I know I do but having even a 6 inch sub is a lot of carbs let alone the footlong), try out those chopped salads. I really enjoy them and they're pretty low in carbs AND calories.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-05 10:56:18 -0600 Report

Thanks for this list if you find out of any more please keep us informed. We all at times have to eat out and this helps us to choose more wisely where to eat.

tabby9146 2014-03-03 11:14:38 -0600 Report

wow! I eat a couple mentioned on this list, or have at times .I am going to see the entire list. My daughter and I eat at Subway often, about once a month for the last few yrs. on average. I have always had the wheat bread. it is supposedly in all the bread. I do not know it I trust that they have removed it for sure. It is scary what is in so much of our food.

GabbyPA 2014-03-03 10:31:37 -0600 Report

Thanks for the list. That is a huge help. Fortunately, I don't eat those items, but I don't want to feed them to my family either.

Type1Lou 2014-03-03 09:16:45 -0600 Report

For those of us avoiding/reducing carbs…did you know that Subway will make you a salad from most of their subs…you just don't get the bread!

Shawn Grant
Shawn Grant 2014-03-02 08:32:53 -0600 Report

Yes, much bread has azodicarbonamide in it. Is azodicarbonamide harmful? You can't spell it or pronounce it, so is that enough to deem it harmful. It has other uses in industry. Does that mean it is harmful? Water is used in manufacturing, but is water harmful? Every year thousands of people die from water, so should we not consume water? No one has died from azodicarbonamide.

Azodicarbonamide has gone through a lot of test for its safety. It is FDA approved and is very safe. It is used as an agent to make bread fluffy and it is a safe and effective way to do this. There are mountains of data that support the safety of azodicarbonamide.

When you hear a claim of fact, it is only rational to hold to the default null hypothesis until there is good evidence to support it. The claim is azodicarbonamide used in the amounts in bread is harmful. When it has been used for years, deemed safe by the FDA, and evidence shows it is safe, the statement that it is unsafe should be met with disbelief (the default null hypotheses) unless there is good evidence otherwise. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

The woman known as the Food Babe broke this story and pushed her fear mongering. She provided no evidence in her claims that it is harmful, just logical fallacies. Her living is made by posing false claims on harm of certain food and additives. Subway simply caved in due to PR.

If you want to learn more about azodicarbonamide in bread do a google search on azodicarbonamide and neurologica. You will find a great article on this subject written by Steven Novella, who is a practicing academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine and an advocate of critical thinking and skepticism.

GabbyPA 2014-03-03 10:36:08 -0600 Report

What's wrong with old fashioned yeast? And if it's that safe, why did other companies take it out of their products prior to the story breaking?

I think the point is more that we had no knowledge that it was in there and so we had no basis to make decisions for ourselves. If it's safe, and companies want to keep using it (Like HFCS) then at least allow me to have the information so I can choose according to my personal beliefs.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-05 10:52:24 -0600 Report

I also wonder, Whats wrong with old fashioned yeast? That is what I use. I quit buying store bread and started making my own, I buy my flour from War Eagle Mills here in Ar. that way I believe I have a safer healthier sandwich. I agree Gabby that we should be informed more of what companies say are safe so we can research these things for our self.

locarb 2014-03-02 12:15:35 -0600 Report

And yet numerous other manufacturers are removing it also. So legitimate concern is "fear mongering?" It's slightly arrogant to assume that people can't pronounce a word merely because it's polysyllabic. You're welcome to your opinion; however, I remain unpersuaded. In fact, you're welcome to continue eating as many unnecessary food additives as you like.

haoleboy 2014-03-01 21:06:31 -0600 Report

I'll take my foods 'unbleached' if you please
(pleased to note I have not consumed the products listed)

- Steve

locarb 2014-03-01 22:13:42 -0600 Report

Me either, but note there are hundreds of foods that contain it. I never mean to proselytize here. But it's difficult to dispute that food additives are motivated by corporate profits to prolong shelf life and revenue. I went to school or a long time to get an MBA and it saddens me to see that social responsibility and ethics are misdirected. It's no surprise that so many people have this diagnosis and the prognosis is even worse. While we all share responsibility or our behavior and lifestyle, the deck is stacked against us when we don't even know what we're consuming.
Anyway…I'm glad to hear that you don't consume any of the food examples that were cited.

haoleboy 2014-03-01 22:23:42 -0600 Report

corporate social responsibility? hasn't that become an oxy-moron? I was in management in a fortune 500 company and was disgusted to the lengths they would go to bolster the bottom line. I understand that a publicly held corporation is required to maximize profits for their shareholders but we did things that were morally repugnant if not down right illegal. I left o sell kites online

- Steve

locarb 2014-03-01 22:43:22 -0600 Report

Unfortunately, I agree with you; however, there are examples to the contrary. When all is said and done, like others here I just try to engage others to take care of themselves and advocate for this condition. I'm very fortunate to have navigated my way around this prognosis and healthcare system. Even disagreement is engagement. I have really learned a lot and value this site for that very reason.

jigsaw 2014-03-01 19:39:06 -0600 Report

I enjoy being alerted to this kind of info! Excellent food for thought, and I bet at the end of the day, much of it is accurate.

jayabee52 2014-03-01 18:25:57 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing Locarb! Another reason to avoid bread! Glad I discontinued it from my meal plan a while ago

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