The latest meme going around right now is about the use of a chemical called azodicarbonamide in McDonald's McRib sandwich and other breads. This particular example is from “Veganism is the Future:” www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=349769878456515, who in turn, got it from Cracked.com. (Don't laugh, Cracked may be funny but they offer some good information.)

If it's just a matter of preference for someone to not eat store-bought bread or fast food, good for you. I'm all for people eating healthy but this meme seems to be getting folks worried when there's no need to be.

While it's true industrial quality azodicarbonamide is used in the production of foam plastics like the gaskets around windows, shoe soles and yes, yoga mats, those spreading this meme aren't giving people all of the pertinent facts. For starters, there are two different types of Azodicarbonamide – industrial quality and food grade quality. The industrial quality azodicarbonamide isn't used in food.

The food-grade version has been evaluated and generally recognized as safe by the FDA: www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.806 and has been around as a food additive since about 1963: www.aaccnet.org/publications/cc/backissues/1963/Documents/Chem40_638.pdf The companies which distribute it work under the same standards as any other aspect of the food industry in America.

For those who would rather read the research on the safety of azodicarbonamide themselves, here's this: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16192074. The results indicate it's safe for people to consume in limited quantities.

Why is azodicarbonamide in so many breads? Simply put, it keeps bread fresher, longer. That means less bread wasted in general and ultimately, lower prices for consumers. But, even in light of that, if someone simply doesn't want azodicarbonamide in their bread, there are still options. You can order from specialty stores – online and offline - who will guarantee you no azodicarbonamide in your bread (expensive) or do what most people do and bake your own.

Although I'm not too scared of preservatives in my bread, I still enjoy a nice slice of home-baked bread myself – and there are still a long list of good reasons to avoid fast food anyway.

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+Azodicarbonamide
+Bread
+Fastfood
+Preservatives
+FoodSafety
+FDA