The Continued Use of Toxic Azodicarbonamide as a Food Ingredient and its Dangers

Recent highlights on the use of azodicarbonamide in highway bread and the health dangers that it poses have attracted serious concerns about its detrimental effect on human health. Azodicarbonamide is a compound found in approximately 500 types of foods including bread, dinner rolls, and burgers. Interestingly, this industrial compound is also used in making other non-food products such as shoe soles, synthetic leather, and yoga mats due to its ability to enhance elasticity. This chemical is mainly used in the baking industry to strengthen dough. Though fully approved as a food ingredient by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, the compound is banned in other countries due to revelations from studies that have shown that it is dangerous and hazardous to health.

A number of studies and different follow up reports by the World Health Organization have revealed that azodicarbonamide irritability from gluten, cause respiratory problems such as asthma and allergic reactions, disrupt the body's immune system, create harmful by-products, affect hormonal function, and act as a skin irritant. These health risks related to exposure and consumption of this toxic compound indicate that it is dangerous and hazardous to health, and should be banned from use as a food ingredient.

While the Food and Drug Administration in America and a host of other businesses in the food industry state that the amount of this compound used in food processing is safe, other nations think otherwise. For example, Australia and most other nations in the European Union have banned the product because of its potential hazardous effects on human health. The European Union has also disallowed the use of this chemical in baby food jars. The use of the compound in sealing glass jars is also another potential exposure path for children, and because European officials would not precisely determine the safe levels of exposure for young children, its use on such jars had to be banned.

Though still legal as a food ingredient, some food processing companies and restaurants that are health conscious have begun the process towards eliminating its use. Subway is one among the few considering removing the chemical from its products, but this is just a drop in the ocean because numerous other companies are still using the compound. Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Arby's, Burger King, Starbucks, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are some of the few examples of companies still using this toxic ingredient. Supported by the government bodies that legalize the use of food ingredients and claims of limited exposure, there is little hope that this ingredient will soon go away from American menus.

Health officials, government bodies, and businesses in the food industry may claim that azodicarbonamide is not hazardous to health in low doses, but do they monitor exposure? It is agreeable that a toxin is a toxin, and if it is not positively contributing to the health of the food consumers, then it is causing harm to it. Diseases are often a result of the build of toxins. Therefore, stay away from foods that will contribute to this negative outcome, and if possible eat organic, natural foods.

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