Subway's Decision To Remove Chemical From Its Breads The Path Of Least Damage Control

LOS ANGELES , February 12, 2014 () – Subway made the right call by announcing that it would remove a chemical—Azodiacarbonamide—from its sandwich breads. The move, which came about following a post in the website, is the path of least damage control from the sandwich chain.

Subway could’ve taken a different route. Despite the fact that the chemical is banned in the U.K., Europe and Australia, and is used to increase elasticity in such products as yoga mats, show rubber and synthetic leather, the company could’ve rightly argued that use of the chemical is deemed safe. Both the USDA and FDA have approved the use of Azodiacarbonamide up to a certain level and Subway could’ve just as easily taken the stance that it was operating within proper food safety parameters.

But that wouldn’t have worked.

After the post was released, I was contacted by several friends—all of whom were Subway customers—asking if the sandwiches weren’t safe. Though I explained that use of the chemical was deemed safe by the government , it all fell on deaf ears. None of them could get past “the chemical is used in rubber!” and “why use the chemical at all?” and “I don’t know. It just doesn’t sound safe to me.”

So Subway did the smart thing. By deciding to stop using the chemical, the company changed the focus of the story, prevented the issue from becoming bigger and placated its consumers.

Damage control at its finest.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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