Angelenos love sandwiches, and Lord knows they love yoga. So it makes perfect sense that Subway would think: Why not combine the two? Imagine how hurt the company folks must have felt when slapped with a petition to stop making their bread with yoga mat material.

The substance in question is called azodicarbonamide. It's the same chemical used to make yoga mats and shoe rubber. It's been banned in the UK, EU and Australia. Subway likes the stuff so much, they use it in their 9-grain wheat, 9-grain honey oat, Italian white, Italian herbs & cheese, Parmesan/oregano, roasted garlic, sourdough and Monterey cheddar breads.
Our favorite well-meaning-but-slightly-literacy-challenged food activist Vani “Food Babe” Hari was immediately on it, throwing together a petition with a cute graphic.

“Everyone from The First Lady Michelle Obama to the American Heart Association (AHA) to several Olympic athletes have endorsed Subway for their purportedly 'fresh' and 'nutritious' meals,” Hari writes in her petition. These people, she continues, have been “duped” because Subway uses azodiblahblahblah in their breads as a bleaching agent and a “dough conditioner” to produce bread faster. “The World Health Organization has linked the chemical to respiratory issues, allergies and asthma,” she says.

“Subway is the largest fast food company headquartered in the United States. If Subway changes their Bread, we know this could inspire other food companies across the US to finally eliminate this dangerous chemical once and for all,” she writes.

That is Bread with a capital “B,” people.

The “Food Babe's” petition garnered nearly 71,000 signatures, quickly prompting Subway to cave. (Note to Bill Nye: Debating creationists is cool and all, but maybe you'd get more press if you went with “Bill Nye the Science Babe.”)

Angry comments poured in from the concerned populace onto Subway's Facebook page like so much rancid mayo: “Check into what chemical they put in their bread that is banned oversea's so they don't use it there…” said one Linda Thomson.

“Lots of ppl getting sick as hell. They ad gmo chemicals and oils in their breads,” added OLi Idle-NoMore Nomando. “There Bread is nasty now. It use to be fresh and soft, now it dryed out cracks apart when your eating it,” said Loretta Sarff Edwards. “A friend of mine got cancer of stomach by eating unhealthy subs from SUbway…,” said Akbarack Sharafov.

“We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide from our bread as part of our bread improvement process,” Subway said on Facebook on Wednesday. “While the ingredient is approved by the USDA and FDA, it will be removed from all our breads soon.”

But not from your yoga mat! 

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook, and follow Samantha “Way Bigger Food Babe” Bonar at @samanthabonar.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.