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Publix to remove chemical conditioner from bread dough

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Published:   |   Updated: February 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM

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Publix will soon begin phasing out a controversial chemical from its breads that food advocates noted was also used in manufacturing yoga mats and shoe rubber.

The chemical in question is called Azodicarbonamide. The Food and Drug Administration allows its use in bread as a dough conditioners, and companies as large as McDonalds list the chemical in their bread ingredients. However, other countries have banned the chemical for food production, and Vani Hari of FoodBabe.com recently questioned Subway about using the chemical in sandwich breads.

Typically, azodicarbonamide, or ADA, is used in bread as a “conditioner” that speeds up the dough-rising process and makes the dough easier to handle. In making rubber mats, ADA produces tiny bubbles in the mixture that are trapped and make the mat spongy.

Subway this week said it’ll begin phasing out the chemical, a process it says started last year. Pending consumer tests of a new formula, and “government approvals,” the company says the conversion should happen in the coming weeks.

Publix officials said most of their breads are already free of ADA, and they’re working to identify products with ADA, and switch them to new recipes with other “dough conditioners.” “ADA is not a natural enzyme,” said Publix Spokesman Brian West, “and we want a clearer label for our customers.” Meanwhile, they’re looking for an “acceptable” ADA substitute.

ADA will also start disappearing from breads made by Georgia-based Flowers Foods, which makes brands such as Nature’s Own, Cobblestone Mill, Wonder, Sunbeam, Bunny, Home Pride, Merita and TastyKake. The company already removed ADA from Nature’s Own brand breads, and company officials say they’re working to eliminate ADA from all its products.

rmullins@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7919

Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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