FOOD BABE TV: Are You Eating This Ingredient Banned All Over The World?

Are you eating this ingredient banned all over the world? Find out on the next episode of Food Babe TV right here:

Watch Now:

Azodicarbonamide 101

  • Azodicarbonamide is a yellow orangish powder, more commonly used commercially in the creation of foamed plastics – like yoga mats, shoe soles, floor mats and window gaskets.
  • The FDA allows food companies to use azodicarbonamide as a flour bleaching agent and dough conditioner in any food product giving it a status of GRAS or “Generally Regarded As Safe”.
  • But, the FDA doesn’t even keep track of the companies who use azodicarbonamide as an ingredient. The lack of information leads the FDA to not update or include an toxicity information about this ingredient in its EAFUS or “Everything Added to Food in the United States” database.
  • When a truck carrying azodicarbonamide overturned on a Chicago highway in 2001, it prompted city officials to issue the highest hazardous materials alert and evacuate people within a half mile radius! Many of the people on the scene complained of burning eyes and skin irritation as a result. (Source: Pandora’s Lunchbox by Melanie Warner)
  • The U.K. has recognized azodicarbonamide as a potential cause of asthma if inhaled, and advises against its use in people who have sensitivity to food dye allergies and other common allergies in food, because it can exacerbate the symptoms.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) studied azodicarbonamide, and also linked it to asthma and other allergic reactions.
  • When azodicarbonamide partially degrades with the heat of processing, it forms trace amounts of semicarbazide, which shows carcinogenicity that can result in tumors over time.
  • The United States is one of the only countries in the world that still allows this ingredient in our food supply. It is banned as a food additive in the U.K., Europe, and Australia, and if you get caught using it in Singapore you can get up to 15 years in prison and be fined $450,000. I’d like to see the head of the FDA put in jail for allowing it, wouldn’t you?

Popular Products That Contain Azodicarbonamide

Sara Lee (many of their breads, bagels, etc.) Sara Lee
McDonalds (almost all their breads, baked goods, bagels, etc.) McDonalds
Subway Breads (many items on the menu) Subway
Wendy’s (many items on the menu) Wendy's
Arby’s (almost all of their different breads) Arby's

These are just a few examples, but there are many more companies that use azodicarbonamide in their products (Pizza Hut, Publix Grocery StoreJason’s Deli, etc). There is a very good list of other companies and brands that use this ingredient on the “Good Guide” – check it out here.

Why The Heck Are Companies Using This Ingredient?

Dough conditioners allow companies to pass off chemically processed cheap food as “freshly baked” because it recreates perfect, evenly packed air pockets within the dough, improving the texture after coming out of large industrial machines from processing. If a company uses azodicarbonamide as a flour bleaching agent it speeds up the processing, making bread larger and whiter than normal. Faster processing with cheaper ingredients = more money in Big Food pockets.

The Next Time You See Your Friends or Family, Ask Them:

Remember to buy organic bakery goods that prohibit the use of highly questionable chemical ingredients like azodicarbonamide and other dough conditioners. Please spread the word and share this video with everyone you know… no one should be eating yoga mats, their shoe sole or a floor mat. Yuck.

Till next time…

Food Babe

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13 Responses to “Fig Newton Your Salad!”

  1. Veena

    When do I get to taste this salad!
    Looks yum!!!

    • Food Babe (to Veena)

      When you buy me some more figs :)

      • Veena (to Food Babe)

        That means a visit to my friend Usha Ji’s house to pick up fresh figs from the tree!

  2. Elizabeth

    You should open up a restaurant.

    • Food Babe (to Elizabeth)

      You are too sweet Elizabeth – I definitely want to get involved with the food business one day! I just got a new job and I LOVE IT – so it may be a while :)

  3. Rachel

    THIS looks fabulous. A fresh approach to a salad. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Food Babe (to Rachel)

      Thank you Rachel! The Farmers Market next to you this weekend should have some! :)

  4. Sherry

    Hey Vani! Just wanted to thank you! Steve and I tried this amazing salad tonight and it was divine! As figs were out of season, we substituted with pear but it was still delicious! Can’t wait to try again when fig season returns!

  5. Stephanie

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I have never eaten fresh figs in my life and was amazed how good they are, especially when warm and covered with melted goat cheese :) I will definitely make this again. Thanks!

  6. char

    Was on my way out and decided to check and see if you had something amazing (as usual) to try, and of course you did……yay!!!!! Hope I can find some figs

  7. Miya King

    Wow – this was really delicious!! I’ve never had fresh figs before, picked up some California organic and now those little guys are at the top of my seasonal favorites. What an incredible flavor combo – thanks for coming up with this and posting. :)

  8. sully

    What balsamic vinager do you recommend (without nitrites)? Thanks


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