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What Is Azodicarbonamide?

Published on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 18:18

Azodicarbonamide is a chemical that’s created by reacting biurea and dihydrazing sulfate under high heat and pressure.  This produces a chemical which is then oxidized with sodium chlorate.  When centrifuged, it produces a slurry that is washed and dried, leaving the powder known as Azodicarbonamide.  

This chemical is used in the manufacturing of foamed plastics.  So it’s in items like yoga mats and sneaker soles.  Not exactly the kind of thing you want to imagine lurking in your bread, is it?

But that’s where you’ll find it – in a variety of processed bread and baked goods.  As a food additive, Azodicarbonamide is used as a dough conditioner and bleaching agent.  It helps commercial dough achieve an acceptable level of elasticity which promotes better texture of the finished product.  It also helps to keep baked goods white in color. 

Unfortunately, the ingredient has been identified worldwide as a “respiratory sensitizer.”  That means that it can induce asthma symptoms, other respiratory difficulties and allergic reactions.  The ingredient is actually BANNED in the United Kingdom, Australia and other European nations.  In Singapore, its use is actually cause for a prison sentence and a hefty fine.

Here in the United States, though, the FDA has deemed that Azodicarbonamide is safe for use in small amounts in our food supply.  Unfortunately, we can find the ingredient in most bread products in our grocery stores, in the buns, bagels, English muffins and croissants found at fast food chains, plenty of cereal products and a whole host of other processed items.  It’s actually pretty difficult to find a loaf of non-organic bread in our grocery aisles that does NOT contain the ingredient.  But it’s certainly worth the search.  FoodFacts.com would really rather not consume the same ingredient used to formulate the soles of our sneakers.  

Visit The Rak Foundation for Nutritional Awareness for more information on how we can change the way America eats!