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Feb 06, 2014 11:32 AM EST

Subway Chemical: Fast Food Chain To Remove Ingredient Found In Yoga Mats From Its Bread

Subway, an American fast food restaurant that primarily sells submarine sandwiches, announced that it is removing a chemical from its bread as part of an ongoing effort to improve its recipes, the Associated Press reported.

The sandwich chain said Wednesday that it would remove the chemical known as Azodiacarbonamide from its sandwich breads. The announcement comes after influential health activist and food blogger Vani Hari launched a petition earlier this week asking Subway to stop using the ingredient.

"We are already in the process of removing Azodiacarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts despite the fact that it is USDA and FDA approved ingredient," the company said in a statement to USA Today. "The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon."

Hari, who runs the Website, said Azodiacarbonamide is commonly used to increase elasticity in everything from yoga mats to shoe rubber to synthetic leather. It is used in bread as a dough conditioner and a "bleaching agent."

In the petition, the food blogger noted that Subway doesn't use the ingredient in its breads in Europe, Australia or other parts of the world, the AP reported.

The ingredient is used in other food products, but Hari said she focused on Subway because of the healthy image it tries to project.

"This is not eating fresh!" Hari's petition said.

On Tuesday, Subway's Facebook page was filled with comments regarding the chemical found in Yoga mats, the AP reported.

Hari said she is thrilled with Subway's response to her petition.

"I commend Subway for finally responding to me and now over 58,000 concerned citizens. Their swift action is a testament to what power petitions and individuals can have," Hari said in an email to USA Today. " " I'd like to note that current Subway sandwiches still have this ingredient, and I urge everyone not to eat their sandwich bread until they have finally removed the chemical."

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