Why are food companies putting non-food in their foods? It’s a simple question and one that has the customers of Subway up in arms.
Subway has agreed to stop using this particular chemical in their bread, but that doesn’t mean much. This is a common chemical used to “condition dough” or “bleach flour.” Unfortunately, it’s also used as a “plastics blowing agent.”
The principal use of azodicarbonamide is in the production of foamed plastics as a blowing agent. The thermal decomposition of azodicarbonamide results in the evolution of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia gases, which are trapped in the polymer as bubbles to form a foamed article.
A long time ago, my dad told me that they put plastic in bread to make it light and fluffy. I dismissed it as another one of his paranoid rants, especially since he kept eating bread. Now, as I am looking at the ingredients for the bread sitting on our kitchen counter, I see “dough conditioner.”
According to Wikipedia, the USDA has deemed Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate as safe:
But then again, the USDA thinks Azodicarbonamide is safe as well.
SSL is currently manufactured by the esterification of stearic acid with lactic acid and partially neutralized with either food-grade soda ash (sodium carbonate) or caustic soda (concentrated sodium hydroxide). Commercial grade SSL is a mixture of sodium salts of stearoyl lactylic acids and minor proportions of other sodium salts of related acids.
I’m beginning to think that there is no food that hasn’t been tainted by big business and the hand of greed. I wasn’t eating bread because I thought the gluten was causing trouble, but considering all the other chemicals that have been used to bleach flour, perhaps it’s just the food industry that I’m allergic to.
Molecular Image via: File:Azodicarbonamide 3D ball.png – Wikimedia Commons