Will McDonald’s, Wendy’s Jump on Subway’s Anti-Chemical Train?

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Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jabb/

When Subway agreed earlier this month to remove a chemical found in yoga mats, shoe rubber, and synthetic leather from its bread, many consumers breathed a sigh of relief. They seemed to agree that it’s hard to “eat fresh” when you’re consuming a chemical, azodicarbonamide, that, although approved for use in the U.S. as a dough conditioner, is banned in Europe and Australia.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognizes the chemical as safe in certain amounts, many consumer advocacy groups have called for its restriction, claiming it can lead to “increased levels of urethane in bread that pose a small risk to humans” and can cause occupational asthma, as well as other respiratory symptoms.

Activists and Subway loyalists celebrated a significant victory when the chain promised early in February to remove the chemical from its nine-grain wheat, Italian white, and sourdough breads at an undisclosed time, but a report from NBC News shows that fast food lovers haven’t won the battle yet. Although Subway has agreed to remove azodicarbonamide from its bread, many other popular fast food chains have not — including McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), Burger King (NYSE:BKW), Wendy’s (NYSE:WEN), and Arby’s.

The news outlet shared the unsettling lineup of products it found to contain the chemical as an ingredient, and revealed to consumers that all of McDonald’s buns and English muffins contain azodicarbonamide; so too, do Burger King’s breads, muffins, and croutons; Wendy’s bagels, buns, and panini breads; and Arby’s croissants, buns, breads, and French toast sticks.

Bread coming from the ovens of Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK) and Chick-fil-A also contain the chemical.

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