There was a panic a couple months back (a “scandal” as some papers put it) regarding the sanctity of Subway’s bread. The constant media coverage led many to boycott the sandwich company in boisterous confidence. Many of you reading this today may have already done away with Subway since the “scandal” in order to continue maintaining your healthy diet, making sure that you are only putting good things into your body. Power to you. I just thought it necessary to add a few tidbits of information to the conversation, especially for those who receive all of their information from outside sources. I find that people love to think they know something, without actually studying or rationalizing anything personally. The drug that has been discovered in Subway’s bread is called azodicarbonamide (don’t ask me to pronounce it, lest I forego my intellectual prowess). Let’s, for now, forget the fact that we can find the ingredient in yoga mats and rubber soles. As interesting and attractive as that is to those supplying you the news (WOW factor, I guess), this information is not really that relevant to the conversation of what it means for your health. Let’s get to the facts of the matter. Azodicarbonamide is used as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner allowing them to produce bread faster and cheaper. It also adds to the bread’s shelf life (doesn’t expire as quickly). It is not natural. It has been linked to respiratory issues, asthma and allergies. That’s really it for the most part. Now, I did not raise an eyebrow to this news. Instead, my reaction was that of instant and complete acceptance. It isn’t that I already knew of this ingredient and of its potential detriment to our human bodies. The particulars of azodicarbonamide were news to me upon hearing as well. However, the shock and panic of this news was immediately lost to me, given the truths of the capitalistic society we live in. Is it really that surprising that one of the biggest fast food chains in the western world might invest in practices that contribute more to their profits than to your health? As far as supply and demand is concerned, I would say these types of practices are to be expected. And further, the ingredient itself has been approved for use in our food by federal regulatory agencies providing it is used in particular predesignated amounts. They weren’t sneaking around or breaking any laws. As far as the laws of the land are concerned, no injustice has actually been committed. The truth is, Subway does not owe anything to us. The way the food industry is set up as a whole is not for the betterment of your health. Any expectation of such should be immediately cast aside. The agencies in place to regulate food and health for consumers are only confirming these sorts of ingredients aren’t being used in lethal amounts, not whether these are unhealthy amounts (or healthy at all). Whether we are speaking about Burger King (which you may have more readily accepted this news from), Subway, or your local grocery store, the majority of the food made available to us comes from people who aren’t concerned with extending our life expectancy. Most of the harmful chemicals and ingredients placed in the fruits, vegetables, bread, prepackaged snacks, meats and drinks that we consume are added with conscious intent in order to manipulate their colour, extend their shelf life, make fluffier or whatever other reason that coincides with lower manufacturing costs and more sales. Unfortunately, no one is taking any responsibility for your health. Don’t think for a moment that Subway feels as though they have wronged the public and are fixing a mistake. They were simply engaging in the same practices as all other food suppliers in our society (and likely still are in other ways we are currently unaware of). They just happen to be the ones caught with their hands dirty at the moment. If you truly are concerned about the things you put into your body, I suggest you don’t scoff at the idea of eating Subway sandwiches only to cross the street and buy WonderBread from the grocery store. There are hundreds of products relating to bread, croutons, and packaged stuffing that use azodicarbonamide for the same reasons Subway has been using it. Mind you, I don’t mean to sound as though I am pardoning the company on account of doing no more wrong than any other corporation. Rather, consider this an admonishment of the food industry as a whole. Being health conscious in today’s society means being extremely skeptical and meticulous about what you eat, using more unconventional methods to find your food and (most importantly) studying. Consider the recent food-scare scandal as a mere distraction from what is truly important. We are all responsible for our own individual health. It is not enough to simply commit to the companies who boast a health conscious marketing plan, or to choose the brand that has the most natural, beautiful, green pasture on their box. Approach the most available food with the most caution. We won’t go as far as to scream “population control” today, but at minimum, the companies we are allowing the responsibility of providing us with our sustenance are not concerned with our health and are not here for any other mutual benefit than to have you willingly purchase their goods. My belly is full from McDonald’s and they obeyed the regulatory minimum amount of sawdust allowed in my burger. My can of CocaCola is exhilarating my taste buds and they have kept the amount of sugar within that can just short of an immediately lethal amount. I want my bread to last two weeks before expiring so they have loaded my current loaf with azodicarbonamide and miraculously fulfilled my wish. Win/Win, right?
-This was NevR supposed to happen.