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Subway to Remove Chemical Ingredient from Bread

Update Date: Feb 06, 2014 09:42 AM EST

Popular sandwich chain, Subway has announced that it plans on removing a chemical ingredient from its bread. Subway's announcement came roughly a couple of days after a popular food blogger started an online petition demanding Subway to remove azodicarbonamide. According to Subway, the decision to remove the chemical was already made before the petition.

Azodicarbonamide is a chemical that is often used in making yoga mats and shoe rubber. In the petition, which was started by Vani Hari, Hari stated that the chemical was used as a bleaching agent. The blogger also discovered that this ingredient is currently not used in the Subway chains located in Europe, Australia and other areas of the world where the additive is banned. The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously tied the ingredient to respiratory issues, such as allergies and asthma.

"It helps....produce the air within the foam of a yoga mat," Hari said. "It does the same thing for bread."

Hari also stated that even though azodicarbonamide can be found in other food products, she decided to focus on Subway because the company has developed a healthy image. Subway often advertises its foods as healthier options for adults and children.

In the petition, Hari wrote, reported by Philly, "This is not eating fresh!"

She added, " When you look at ingredients, if you can't spell it or pronounce it, you probably shouldn't eat it."

Hari, who is in charge of, has targeted other companies, such as Kraft and Chick-fil-A for using potentially dangerous chemicals in their food products. Since the start of the petition, the Subway's Facebook page has received tons of comments asking the company about the use of the chemical. With better consumer awareness, people are starting to demand more natural ingredients in their food and beverage products.

"I commend Subway for finally responding to me and now over 57,000 concerned citizens. Their swift action is a testament to what power petitions and individuals who sign them can have," Hari said according to ABC News. "I'd like to note that current Subway sandwiches still have this ingredient, and urge everyone not to eat their sandwich bread until they have finally removed the chemical."

Currently, azodiacarbonamide is considered to be safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA stated that the chemical is safe if used as an aging or bleaching agent if it does not surpass 45 parts per million. In other proportions, the chemical can be used as a dough conditioner. The FDA is currently researching the effects of azodicarbonamide when used in bread.

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