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Chemical Cuisine | A Toxic Food Additive to Avoid

Chemical Cuisine | A Toxic Food Additive to Avoid

Photo courtesy of Gino Santa Maria.
Photo courtesy of Gino Santa Maria.

Yet another potentially dangerous food additive “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA.

It’s got one of those unpronounceable names—azodicarbonamide or ADC for short—and it has been banned all over the world, except in the United States.
Many fast food chains continue to use this additive in their breads, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which last week asked the FDA to consider banning its use in food.
Added to strengthen dough, the chemical can breakdown, turning into urethane, a known carcinogen. In fact, ADC is one of the chief petrochemicals use to make yoga mats, the soles of shoes, and other rubbery products.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), standing outside a local New York City McDonald’s on February 9, called for the fast food chain to stop using the chemical. The Subway chain recently has said it will to stop using the chemical in its breads (its 9-grain wheat, Italian white, and sourdough breads have contained it).
Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s, and even Starbucks reportedly use the chemical in their bread products, as well as other companies in the commercial baked goods industry. Starbucks says they are phasing it out according to a Feb. 7  report on
Schumer noted that the chemical is banned in most of the developed world, including Australia and much of the European Union, but it remains on the list of FDA approved food additives.
For more information
You can find a list of many other food additives to avoid, along with the names of those that do not pose risks here.
Joyce H. Newman, a Garden Variety contributing writer, covers gardening topics, food matters and environmental issues. The former editor of Consumer Reports, which evaluates environmental claims on green product labels, she holds a certificate in horticulture from the New York Botanical Garden.
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  1. Painting for Joy
    February 10, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Maybe this explains “gluten” allergies? It’s horrible what they have done to the food chain. We are being poisoned!

    1. The Editors of Garden Variety
      February 11, 2014 at 9:22 am

      It certainly does make you wonder.

  2. organicforpennies
    February 10, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Interesting — I used to think I was allergic to gluten, since I’d feel tired after eating bread, but I found that when I ate organic, baked-from-scratch bread from Le Pain Quotidien, I was fine. So I now guess that the culprit is some sort of preservative in most store-bought or conventional bread. Maybe it’s this ADC stuff, maybe it’s something else — whatever it is, it’s not bread.

    1. The Editors of Garden Variety
      February 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Interesting. With so many additives, in one form or another, in the conventional food chain, there is no telling what effects they truly have on us over time. It’s much safer to opt for homemade, artisan-produced or organic varieties (at least we think so).

  3. Nancy at Food Mingle Blog
    February 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I live in NY and it’s all over the news here, due to Senator Schumer’s mandate. It’s just amazing how much information is kept from the consumer!

  4. DetoxMama
    February 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Ha! I’m not surprised by this kind of stuff anymore. Today it’s this and tomorrow it will be something else. The best solution I think, is to eat whole organic foods as much as possible. Eliminate processed foods and def stay away from ingredients not found in nature.

  5. streamlinedkt
    February 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I just wrote about azodicarbonamide in my blog, too! Did you know in Singapore, if you get caught adding it to your food (manufacturers, etc.), you are fined about half a million dollars and put in jail for six months!!

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