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Food Safety

500 Ways to Eat a Yoga Mat

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Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 9:00 AM
click to enlarge ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP
  • Environmental Working Group
Remember how everybody freaked out last month because they suddenly realized Subway was using a chemical also found in yoga mats in its bread? Well, guess what? Subway may have been unfairly singled out, as the chemical in question, azodicarbonamide (ADA), is included in hundreds of food products.

Subway quickly reassured the public that it would no longer use ADA in its bread. But at least 500 more food items on the market contain the compound, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group, which reassures the public that there are "Nearly 500 ways to make a yoga mat sandwich." 

See also: Subway to Remove "Yoga Mat" Chemical From Bread

Ball Park, Country Hearth, Jimmy Dean, Kroger, Little Debbie, Marie Callendar's, Pillsbury, White Castle, Sara Lee and Wonder are just some of the 130 brands that used the chemical in their products. Most of the items are breads (including hot dog and hamburger buns), croutons, pre-made sandwiches and snacks.

Many purport to be good for you, such as Country Hearth's Hearty Homestyle 100% Whole Wheat Bread and Healthy Life's 100% Whole Grain Wheat Bread, Flaxseed. A few names you might recognize include Pillsbury Toaster Streudels, Sun-Maid Raisin Bread, Sara Lee Blueberry Crumble Breakfast Bread, Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwiches and Roundy's Garlic Texas Toast.

Basically, if it's a hamburger bun, a Danish, a loaf of bread you buy in a plastic bag or any of those other sketchy "pastries" or "baked goods" you buy at a supermarket, it's a pretty safe bet it's got ADA in it.

ADA is also used in flip-flops and foam insulation. It makes plastics strong, light, spongy and malleable. And apparently it can do the same for bread. It bleaches flour and helps make bread puffier and tough enough to withstand shipping and storage. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (since 1962) as long as it is used in quantities less than 0.0045 percent of the weight of the flour used. It is not approved for use in either Australia or the European Union.

But the World Health Organization has raised concerns about the compound because case reports have shown that some workers who come into regular contact with the product have developed asthma, respiratory symptoms and skin problems. Also, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that ADA forms semicarbazide and urethane when baked, which have been linked to cancers in mice.

"EWG recommends that consumers take steps to avoid the industrial additive ADA in their food. It is an unnecessary ingredient, its use has raised concerns about occupational exposure, and questions remain about its potential risk to consumers," the organization writes, adding that it urges all manufacturers to stop using the industrial chemical in breads. You can sign its petition, too. 

Here are the Top Five Foods That Contain ADA That Might Surprise You:

5. Tortillas (Amigos)
4. Breakfast Sandwiches (Ihop, Jimmy Dean)
3. Stuffing (Bell's, Food Club, Hormel, White Rose)
2. Pasta (Betty Crocker pasta salad; Roundy's Italian Sausage Tortelloni and Meat & Fine Herbs Ravioli)
1. Meat (Hungry-Man Roasted Carved White Meat Turkey, Kid Cuisine Kc's Campfire Hot Dog)

Click here for the complete list of food items that contain ADA. Namaste!


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