Is the Fast-Food Bread You're Eating Dangerous?

Popular fast-food chains are making bread with a substance that's banned the world over--so why is it still legal in the U.S.?

There's something fishy about an ingredient in the bread served at many fast-food chains in the U.S. It's called Azodicarbonamide, and it's in Subway loaves, Starbucks croissants, and other fast-food breads many of us eat daily or weekly -- but it's banned in countries worldwide. U.K. officials say it causes asthma; Singapore fines nearly a half million dollars for using it. In the U.S.? It's perfectly legal.

The substance has stirred up controversy before, and it's once again generating attention -- not to mention questions about why we're still being fed this stuff, and why the Food and Drug Administration hasn't banned it. Food Babe is running a story and video about the issue this week:


FoodBabe reports that the FDA allows food companies to use the stuff to bleach flour and condition dough; the agency gives the substance the rating of "generally regarded as safe." But consider this: When a truck carrying the stuff overturned in Chicago, the highest hazardous materials alert was issued, and people within a half mile were evacuated. Many complained of symptoms like irritated skin and burning eyes. The FDA has insisted that it takes the necessary protections to guard the U.S. food supply -- but we're left wondering who else the agency may be guarding (food companies with well-paid lobbyists, perhaps?)

Yes, there has been some fear-mongering when it comes to certain food scares -- along with often-confusing rebuttals and counter-rebuttals, which iVillage has been tracking. Sometimes the claims are overblown, and sometimes the substance in question is kinda icky but not actually dangerous at all. (See: bugs used to make red food dye.) So we're wondering how'll you react to this controversy.

Let us know what you think: Will you avoid fast-food breads, or call on the FDA to ban Azodicarbonamide and other substances of its ilk-- or just shrug off the news and carry on?

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

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