After a spate of bad publicity over the use of an ingredient also used in the making of yoga mats, Subway confirmed that the chemical will be removed from all of its breads in a week.
The sandwich chain earlier this year drew criticism after a food blogger launched a petition urging the company to remove azodicarbonamide, an ingredient used as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner.
A spokeswoman confirmed an Associated Press report in which Subway’s chief marketing officer Tony Pace said the chain will have phased out the ingredient from its bread in the next week.
Azodicarbonamide is found widely in other products, including foods served at McDonald’s and Burger King. The chemical, however, is banned from use in foods in Great Britain, the European Union and Australia. A 1999 World Health Organization study found it induces asthma in humans.
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 use of the ingredient was the subject of Vani Hari’s petition earlier this year. The activist food blogger has a reputation for targeting 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.
Pace said the company’s removal in the ingredient was occurring before the petition and that the move wasn’t in reaction to it.