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How a Chemical Used in Rubber Found Its Way Into 500 Food Products

Subway restaurant bread
Subway restaurant breadPhotograph by Ian Hanning/Redux

A chemical commonly found in rubber will soon be removed from Subway’s sandwich bread and baked goods sold at Publix supermarkets. But a report released today identifies almost 500 other foods—from bagels and breads to pizza crusts and danishes—sold under 130 brand names that still contain the food additive azodicarbonamide, including Pillsbury and Sara Lee.

Environmental Working Group, the nonprofit that released the report, is trying to persuade food manufacturers to stop using azodicarbonamide, or ADA, which acts as a kind of baking powder in the making of rubber, plastics, and ceramics, making them lighter and more elastic. Food producers took to using the same chemical to soften the texture of baked goods.