What do Yoga Mats and Subway Have in Common?

Azodicarbonamide. It’s a chemical found in yoga mats and Subway sandwiches.

Subway came out with a statement announcing that it will eliminate azodicarbonamide from its sandwich bread on Feb. 6. The ingredient is USDA and FDA approved and is used to strengthen dough. The ingredient is also used in yoga mats and shoe soles to increase elasticity.

photo(1)Many other restaurants, including McDonald’s and Wendy’s, use the ingredient in its bread. Food Babe, a popular food blogger, examined the ingredients of many food companies and restaurants that use azodicarbonamide.

McDonald’s acknowledged the inclusion of azodicarbonamide in its bread ingredients but defends its use of the ingredient by saying, “A variation of Azodicarbonamide has commercial uses and is used in the production of some foamed plastics, like exercise mats. But this shouldn’t be confused with the food-grade variation of this ingredient.”

On Feb. 4, Food Babe launched an online petition to stop Subway from including azodicarbonamide in its bread. The petition has over 83,000 signatures to date.

Spokespeople such as Michelle Obama and Michael Phelps advocated the nutrition of these sandwiches without knowing about the existence of this ingredient in the bread.

Will Subway incur any reputation problems by revealing this information? It’s hard to tell at this point.

Consumers may be weary about the fact that Subway’s constant self-promotion as a healthy eating option has stayed alive through so many celebrity spokespeople, and only now is this ingredient becoming an issue.

Subway’s Twitter doesn’t seem to have a lot of traffic but the restaurant’s Facebook does have some traffic from consumers addressing the azodicarbonamde.

It will be interesting to see if Subway gets a lot of heat from consumers over social media sites and how the company handles the situation.

As I argued in my previous posts about DiGiorno’s, I believe that it is always best to come forward with information and be open, transparent and apologetic about any questionable information, and I commend Subway for doing so.

Photo via Subway’s Twitter account

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