The Subway sandwich restaurant chain said Thursday that it would remove an ingredient used in the production of foamed plastics such as yoga mats and rubber-soled shoes from its bread.
"The complete conversion to have this product out the bread will be done soon," Subway said in its statement.
The use of the ingredient -- azodicarbonamide -- was the subject of a petition by Vani Hari, an activist food blogger who has gone after other restaurants and food companies for their use of controversial ingredients.
Hari had previously launched a petition to remove yellow dyes from some Kraft's macaroni and cheese products for children. Hari declared victory when Kraft Food Groups Inc. announced in November it would remove the yellow dyes.
Azodicarbonamide, according to a 1999 World Health Organization study, induces asthma in humans. The ingredient is banned from use in foods in Great Britain, the European Union and Australia.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says the ingredient can be "safely used" if it is intended for use as an "aging and bleaching ingredient" used in flour in an amount that doesn't exceed 2.05 grams per 100 pounds of flour. It can also be used as a dough conditioner.
The announcement that the chain will end the use of the controversial ingredient comes after First Lady Michelle Obama announced a partnership with Subway late last month to promote healthful eating habits to children.