Are Azodicarbonamide Dangers Overblown?


Recently, Subway, Starbucks, and other well-known American fast food chains are promising to remove a chemical compound known as azodicarbonamide from their products after a recent consumer protest.

But is this recent example of vigilant consumer response to food ingredients a bit of an overreaction? Check out four reasons below why the public demand for absolutely no azodicarbonamide in fast food is as irrational as it is extreme.

Wasted Effort

With some of the big fast-food companies promising food changes after customer protests, there’s certainly a renewed understanding about just how much power we consumers have. Food companies will hear and act on our demands– no matter how irrational. When we’re set on an ingredient being dangerous to our health, food manufacturers figure it cheaper to give us what we want rather than argue about it– even if it doesn’t makes much sense. And, oftentimes, we waste an awful lot of gung-ho zeal on stuff that’s actually quite trivial.

Instead, we should start being more discriminatory towards the sources we trust rather than serving as easy prey for oftentimes well-intentioned– but potentially misguided– bloggers who may or may not be trying to push forward their own interests first and foremost.

Oftentimes, when a loud enough food protest is made, everyone will listen– despite not doing any research in the matter themselves.

Check Out What Subway Has Promised To Do With Their Subs

Fear Of Chemicals

Because azodicarbonamide is a chemical compound, many people immediately see that as a perfect reason to ban it completely. However, just because something is a chemical doesn’t make it necessarily harmful: oxygen is a chemical, too, for example.

It’s a complicated relationship, especially since many synthetic chemicals, which are too often comprehensively considered “bad,” are actually the source of many antibiotics and other life-saving drugs, while many natural chemicals, such as ammonia, are toxic.

Even more, “toxic” chemicals aren’t necessarily always toxic; it often depends on exposure levels or certain environmental contexts.

For example: ingesting too much dihydrogen monoxide can put you into a coma, and inhaling it can kill you. But why don’t people ask fast food restaurant to remove dihydrogen monoxide from their food? Because this “toxic” chemical is water. Mind, blown.

Food Exposure Levels Of Azocarbonamide Not Unsafe

The World Health Organization indicates that azocarbonamide can be harmful when inhaled– but this applies to those who manufacture and handle copious amounts of it in its raw form. You don’t ingest azodicarbonamide when you eat food made with it, because it breaks down into a compound called biurea when it’s mixed with the other foods’ ingredients– and this compound is easily excreted from the body.

Furthermore, azocarbonamide can only be used in miniscule amounts of food additives, making up .0045 percent or less of treated flour.

Find Out What Chik-fil-A Starting To Do With Their Chicken

Removing Azodicarbonamide Doesn’t Make Fast Food Healthy

Let’s get obvious; if you don’t eat from fast food restaurants often, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about from the occasional meal you have at one. On the other side of things, if you do eat fast food often– you should probably be worried about your health, regardless of whether azodicarbonamide is taken out of the food you eat. Because even without azodicarbonamide, you still have fast food that is low in nutrients and high in unhealthy fats.

Perhaps passing the fast food joints altogether on your way back from work and making dinner at home is a better, healthier long-term option.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all health related advice.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of David Shrein

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.