Subway to remove the chemical azodicarbonamide from bread

NEW YORK - Subway says it's in the process of removing a chemical from its bread as part of an ongoing effort to improve its recipes.

The announcement comes after a food blogger launched a petition this week asking the sandwich chain to stop using the ingredient. A representative for Subway says the change was underway before the petition was launched.

Vani Hari, who runs the site, has targeted other food companies including Kraft and Chick-fil-A for the chemicals in their products.

In the latest petition targeting Subway, Hari noted that the azodicarbonamide used in its bread is also used to make yoga mats and shoe rubber.

"The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon," Subway said in a statement, without providing further details.

What is azodicarbonamide?

According to the World Health Organization, azodicarbonamide is a chemical mainly used as a blowing agent in the rubber and plastics industries. The compound is used in the expansion of a wide range of polymers, including polyvinyl chloride, polyolefins, and natural and synthetic rubbers.

According to WHO documents, azodicarbonamide is known to cause asthma, skin irratations and allergies.  ABC News reports the chemical is banned in parts of Europe and Australia, but legal in United States and Canada.

Why is it used?

Azodicarbonamide plays two roles in bread.  According to it's used as a bleaching agent to make breads whiter and improves the strength of flour, which makes the dough more elastic.

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