Category Archives: Subway

Subway cleans up its bread products with the removal of azodicarbonamide

Azodicarbonamide is an ingredient that’s truly as bad as it sounds. It’s a chemical that can be found in a variety of bread products here in the U.S. but has been banned in many other countries. In fact, in Singapore there are hefty fines associated with its use (up to 15 years in prison and $450,000). In the U.K., azodicarbonamide has been identified as a “respiratory sensitizer,” or a possible cause of asthma. It’s also been linked with cancer in animal studies. Oh, and we shouldn’t forget that its main use is in the production of foamed plastics. How about a little yoga mat in your sandwich roll?

It’s used as a dough conditioner and stabilizer, helping with the texture and appearance of bread products. The use of azodicarbonamide seems to be most popular commercially and shows up in the FoodFacts.com database in a whole host of fast food sandwich breads and rolls.

But it’s not long for bread at Subway: The company says it’s coming out.

“We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts despite the fact that it is (a) USDA and FDA approved ingredient,” Subway said in a statement. “The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.”

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest the ingredient has been poorly tested.  One of the breakdown products, derived from the original substance, is called urethane, a recognized carcinogen, the organization says. Using azodicarbonamide at maximum allowable levels results in higher levels of urethane in bread “that pose a small risk to humans,” CSPI said.

Another breakdown product is semicarbazide, which poses “a negligible risk to humans” but was found to cause cancers of the lung and blood vessels in mice, CSPI said.

CSPI advocates for reducing the amount of the chemical that is allowed to be used.

“We urge the Food and Drug Administration to consider whether the Delaney amendment, which bars the use of food additives that cause cancer in humans or animals, requires the agency to bar its use,” CSPI said.

The FDA has said that the additive cannot exceed 0.0045% by weight of the flour when used in as a “dough conditioner.”

Food blogger Vani Hari, of the popular food blog Food Babe, originally drew public attention to this issue, CSPI said. She has written about Subway ingredients several times since 2012, and has launched a petition urging Subway to stop using azodicarbonamide. More than 67,000 people have signed.

Grocery store breads and restaurant breads also contain this chemical. Other major fast food chains have products with the ingredient too, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Arby’s.
McDonald’s has also responded to concerns about the chemical with regard to its McRib sandwich buns, but continues to use the chemical in that product.

It’s refreshing to see that Subway has responded appropriately to consumer voices, especially since they are the chain most commonly viewed as a healthier option. The publicity surrounding their move has spurred other voices as well. Just this last Sunday, Senator Charles Schumer of New York held a press conference outside of a Manhattan McDonald’s calling on the FDA to ban the ingredient completely.

While many are arguing for the use of “safe levels” of the chemical in our foods, we are thrilled to observe, once again, how consumer voices can shift the manufacturing habits of established companies. It’s not only our right to make our voices heard, it’s our responsibility. Our voices can get the results we’re seeking. Thanks for listening, Subway. We’re hopeful that others will follow suit.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/06/health/subway-bread-chemical/
http://foodbabe.com/2014/02/04/launching-petition-subway-will-finally-hear-us-loud-clear/#more-16136
http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/schumer-fda-should-ban-chemical-used-in-fast-food-dough-1.7005646

First Lady Michelle Obama announces Subway’s three-year commitment to promoting healthier choices to kids!

First lady Michelle Obama has made a lasting impact in the lives of Americans with her Let’s Move! initiative. Her work to ensure that all children grow up and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams have focused on making healthy choices easier for all American families. Our First Lady has turned a much-needed spotlight on the issue of childhood nutrition. FoodFacts.com has been especially impressed by and grateful for her choice of this particular issue and for her dedicated work to get this important message out to the American people.

Today, our First Lady joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and Subway along with Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, and Justin Tuck at a local Washington, DC, Subway Restaurant, to announce a three-year commitment by the chain in support of her Let’s Move! initiative to promote healthier choices to kids, including launching its largest targeted marketing effort to date. In addition to strengthening its already nutritious menu offerings to kids, Subway will launch a new series of campaigns for kids titled “Playtime Powered by Veggies,” aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and will set new standards for marketing products to families.
“I’m excited about these initiatives not just as a First Lady, but also as a mom,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Subway’s kids’ menu makes life easier for parents, because they know that no matter what their kids order, it’s going to be a healthy choice.”

Subway Restaurants’ commitment answers the First Lady’s call last fall at the first ever White House Convening on Food Marketing to Children, where she urged the private sector to leverage the power of marketing to promote healthier products and decrease the marketing of unhealthy products to kids.

“Subway restaurant’s commitment today builds on the brand’s already strong track record of offering healthier choices to kids, for which it has been lauded by families and health advocates alike,” said PHA Board Chair James R. Gavin, III, MD, PhD. “The new and significant investment it is making today will not only help make fruits and vegetables fun for kids, it will also offer busy moms and dads easy, healthy choices for their families when they’re on the go.”

“Ending childhood obesity is a cause that has been near and dear to Subway since we introduced the Fresh Fit for Kids Meals in 2007,” said Suzanne Greco, vice president of R&D and Operations for the Subway brand. “With this partnership with PHA, we will now reach millions of kids as part of a healthier eating education campaign, making it our largest outreach campaign to date. From a sign on each restaurant’s door that says ‘Playtime Powered by Veggies’ to a video collaboration with Disney’s The Muppets, we will build upon our ongoing efforts to create even better choices for families. We hold ourselves to the highest standards in the industry when it comes to speaking to children and their families. Now we are letting everyone else know what that standard is.”

As part of its commitment, the Subway restaurant chain will:

-  only offer items on its kids menus that meet strong nutritional guidelines informed by federal standards for the national school lunch program, including offering apples as a side and low-fat or non-fat milk or water as a default beverage.

-  deliver $41 million in media value in the next three years to market healthier options to children and families, with a specific focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables. This is the brand’s largest kid-focused marketing campaign to date, and includes general marketing, in-store merchandising, television, social and digital media and public relations.
-  focus all kid-focused in-store merchandising and marketing on only the healthier options available in its restaurants. This includes training materials which will be updated to teach Sandwich Artists to encourage kids to choose apples.

Playtime Powered by Veggies. We can’t wait to see this campaign in action. We’re thrilled to see Subway putting the First Lady’s initiatives to work and answering her call to the private sector to promote healthier choices for our children. And we’re hopeful that Subway’s efforts will motivate other chains to make similar commitments to the lives of our kids!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/23/first-lady-michelle-obama-announces-commitment-subway-restaurants-promot

Azodicarbonamide: What Do You Know and Why You Should Care?

subway

Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn more about what controversial ingredients manufacturers are putting into your foods. Let’s look into the relatively little-known ingredient called Azodicarbonamide. If you enjoy eating bread, donuts, subs and bread-related products while eating out, perhaps you should read this.

Online research indicates that azodicarbonamide is used in the food industry as a food additive, a flour bleaching agent and improving agent. It reacts with moist flour as an oxidizing agent. The main reaction product is biurea (not urea), which is stable during baking. Secondary reaction products include semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate.

The United States allows azodicarbonamide to be added to flour at levels up to 45 ppm. Use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned in Australia and in Europe. In Singapore, the use of azodicarbonamide can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $450,000.

The principal use of Azodicarbonamide is in the production of foamed plastics. The thermal decomposition of azodicarbonamide results in the evolution of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia gases which are trapped in the polymer as bubbles to form a foamed article. Common examples of this application are window and door gaskets, padded floor mats, gym/exercise mats, and shoe soles.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitiser (a possible cause of asthma) and determined that products should be labeled with “May cause sensitisation by inhalation.”

Azodicarbonamide may cause an allergic reaction in those sensitive to other azo compounds (such as food dyes). The consumption of azodicarbonamide may also heighten an allergic reaction to other ingredients in a food.

One of America’s largest fast food chains uses azodicarbonamide extensively in their breads, and a well-known donut chain uses it in their cooking and preparation of donuts.

In connection with food safety, it has wrongly been claimed that azodicarbonamide is completely decomposed into common, harmless substances during baking, either into urea or (alternatively) into gasses (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and ammonia) Toxicological studies of the reactions of azodicarbonamide show that it is rapidly converted to biurea in dough, which is a stable compound not decomposed upon cooking.