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SA bakeries to remove controversial ADA additive from its bread

Consumers put pressure on brands to eliminate an allegedly harmful chemical.

08 Jul 2014

The controversial ADA debate began to surface after a US blogger, Vani Hari, started campaigning for well-known fast-food establishment, Subway, to stop including the chemical additive, azodicarbonamide (ADA) in its bread, using the hashtag #NoWaySubway .

Watch her campaign video here.

What is ADA?

ADA is used in bread-making as an additive to make the flour white. According to the infamous blogger (known on the internet as Food Babe) who shone the spotlight on it, the chemical is, “the same chemical used to make yoga mats, shoe soles, and other rubbery objects. It’s not supposed to be food or even eaten for that matter. And it’s definitely not 'fresh'.”

ADA is evidently banned in Europe and Australia and now South African bakeries are beginning to take action. This article on Food Stuff South Africa reports that the likes of Pick n Pay, and the breadmakers for Sasko, Steers, Wimpy and Debonairs Pizza have all started removing ADA from their bread. It also states, "Woolworths' producer has been asked to remove ADA by July."

Why is ADA dangerous?

In her video, Food Babe says that ADA is linked to allergies, asthma and respiratory problems and as a compound, is “toxic and flammable” but the World Health Organization, says that ADA has not gone through enough testing for its possible harm to human health.

Food Stuff South Africa reports that Johannesburg-based food scientist, Nigel Sunley, suspects political pressure has driven the ADA debate, rather than health safety concerns.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section below this article.


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