Chemical Azodicarbonamide Found in Hundreds of Food Items

First Posted: Feb 27, 2014 01:48 PM EST

Subway, a popular restaurant chain that's known for its healthier choice sandwiches and other foods, recently announced that they would remove a plastics chemical ingredient found in their bread products. The chemical Azodicarbonamide or ADA is a potentially harmful industrial ingredient that's found in many rubbery items including yoga mats and other products. A recent report released by the FDA set out to determine just how often it was used in foods. Researchers discovered that the chemical was found in over 500 food items.

"It's unacceptable that major food companies are using an unnecessary and potentially harmful chemical in their products, when it's clear they can make food without it," said Vani Hari, the blogger that campaigned Subway to remove ADA. "These questionable additives are not supposed to be food or even eaten for that matter, but they do end up in the U.S. food supply and are consumed by millions of people, including children, every day."

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington found that more than 130 brands of snacks, stuffing and bread contained the chemical.

"ADA is just one example of an American food supply awash in chemical additives that can be mixed into foods with little oversight or safety review," said David Andrews, Ph.D., EWG senior scientist and co-author for the analysis, via a press release. "Americans have regularly eaten this chemical along with hundreds of other questionable foods additives for years. That is why we are putting together an online database that will enable consumers to make more informed decisions about the foods they eat and feed to their family."

Many health conditions have been linked to ADA overexposure, including skin irritations and respiratory problems.

The EWG is looking to stop the food manufacturing of all such ingredients and plans on launching an online campaign to help spread awareness regarding the problem. For more information regarding the report, click here

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