Much Ado About?

Subway has responded to a petition started by Food Babe’s Vani Hari to remove azodicarbonamide, a dough conditioner, from Subway breads. Subway isn’t the only company to use this additive. You’ll find it in McDonalds bread, Wonder Bread, in the bread products of many many other companies, yoga mats, shoe rubber and synthetic leather. The additive is banned in Europe and other places. Europe even bans using it in plastics which come into contact with food. The FDA considers use of azodicarbonamide as safe to use in human food. Does the FDA consider people living in the USA to be more resilient to substances considered toxic in other countries?

But maybe this notion of eating anything the FDA considers as safe isn’t the way to think of eating food. Instead of asking, “Is this safe?”, we should be asking, “Is this good? Will it make us better? Will it be something that nourishes us?” Food isn’t something we eat to improve the profit margins of corporations. Food is something we eat to give us joy, energy, and nourish us. Food is a gift we give ourselves. It should all be good, fantastic, delicious, not merely safe.

I’m baffled by all the ingredients companies put in their bread products. Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll find in Subway’s Nine-Grain Bread, a MacDonalds Big-Mac Bun, and the bread I often bake at home. Wouldn’t it be much easier to make bread out of as few ingredients as possible? And why is there any need to use preservatives in the bread of fast food companies? In the case of Subway bread, it’s eaten within minutes, hours at the most of baking. Why add Calcium Propionate and/or Sodium Propionate at all?

Subway 9-Grain Wheat Bread

  • Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • water
  • yeast
  • whole wheat flour
  • sugar
  • wheat gluten
  • oat fiber
  • soybean oil
  • wheat bran
  • salt
  • wheat
  • rye
  • yellow corn
  • oats
  • triticale
  • brown rice
  • barley
  • flaxseed
  • millet
  • sorghum
  • yeast nutrients (calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate)
  • vitamin D2
  • dough conditioners
    • sodium stearoyl lactylate
    • potassium iodate
    • ascorbic acid
    • azodicarbonamide
  • caramel color
  • refinery syrup
  • honey
  • yeast extract
  • natural flavor
  • enzymes
MacDonalds Big Mac Bun

  • Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil
  • Salt
  • Wheat Gluten
  • Calcium Sulfate
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Ammonium Sulfate
  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Dough Conditioners (May Contain One or More of):
    • Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
    • DATEM
    • Ascorbic Acid
    • Azodicarbonamide
    • Mono and Diglycerides
    • Ethoxylated Monoglycerides
    • Monocalcium Phosphate
    • Enzymes
    • Guar Gum
    • Calcium Peroxide
  • Sorbic Acid
  • Calcium Propionate and/or Sodium Propionate (Preservatives)
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Sesame Seed
My Bread

  • whole wheat flour
  • water
  • salt
  • yeast

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