Subway has begun the process of removing azodicarbonamide from its bread, a chemical commonly used to make rubber soles, yoga mats, and other rubber-based products, which has been linked to respiratory issues. The response came a day a popular food blogger released an online petition asking Subway to stop using the chemical in its sandwiches. "The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon,” Subway announced to the Associated Press, without further details.
Vani Hari, the petition’s author and blogger behind Food Babe, revealed that the same chemical is not used in its locations throughout the UK, Europe, Australia, or other parts of the world. Hani also cited data from the World Health Organization that linked the chemical to “respiratory issues, allergies, and asthma,” and noted that a 2001 spill of the chemical on a Chicago highway resulted in a hazardous materials alert, and that people nearby reported burning eyes and skin irritation. CNN reports that research from the Center for Science in the Public Interest has identified that carcinogens are present in the breakdown of the chemical, which pose small risks to humans but has been found to cause cancer in mice.
“We deserve the same safe ingredients that Subway uses around the world,” wrote Hari in the petition. As the petition gained online exposure, Subway’s Twitter and Facebook were flooded with concerned and angry messages, and Hari’s petition has received widespread media attention. According to CNN, the chemical is also found in products from McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Arby’s, and may also be found in supermarket and restaurant breads.
No word on whether the chemical's removal will affect the chain's signature smell.