Monday, 3 March 2014

The “Yoga Mat” Chemical

The chemical azodicarbonamide, which is known to the public as the “yoga mat” chemical, has recently made headlines following Subway’s statement that they were removing the ingredient from its bread. This chemical gained attention after a blogger brought attention to the fact that the chemical is included in flip flops and yoga mats, and this expectedly resulted in negative responses from the public.

Azodicarbonamide (ADA) is commonly found in packaged foods, including breads and croutons, and is responsible for giving these products a buoyant quality. It is also known as a “foaming agent” that makes the dough rise more rapidly.

This substance has previously been banned in Australia and Europe, and this is because of its link to respiratory issues. However, it is approved by the FDA if present in levels below 45 parts per million.

A nonprofit advocacy organization known as the Environmental Working Group made the acknowledgment that “ADA is not known to be toxic to people in the concentration approved by the FDA”. They also claimed that ADA is an industrial chemical, and not a food, with the purpose of improving the convenience for bakers.

So, there seems to be mixed views on this chemical, and it appears to be non-toxic at levels present in the food we consume. But the real question: is ADA truly a necessary ingredient in the foods we consume?

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