What is azodicarbonamide?

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Azodicarbonamide is a chemical that is commonly used as a food additive.  It is typically found in powder form with a yellowish to reddish color.  In flour processing, azodicarbonamide is often used because of its bleaching properties.  It is also utilized to help make the dough grow chewy and softer when baked.  Under the US FDA or Food And Drug Administration, the use of azodicarbonamide is considered generally safe.

Despite the US FDA approval, many people are still worried about azodicarbonamide as a food additive. The basic reason is that this is the same chemical that is used in the production of plastics and rubbers to make them more springy and flexible.  When the same chemical is used for plastics and rubber, many health experts often question its use in any food item.  Flour is a basic food ingredient and when it contains azodicarbonamide, some people consider this as a red flag.  Another concern for azodicarbonamide is that this chemical will actually break down into its different components during or after the baking of flour.  Components such as urethane and SEM or semicarbazide are said to be formed when flour mixed with azodicarbonamide is baked.  These components are known to be carcinogens and their presence in food is enough for many people to question the use of this chemical in the food industry.

With the health risks associated with azodicarbonamide, many food processors and manufactures opt not to use it in any of their flour processing and preparations.  Despite its FDA approval, many people are not willing to take the risk of getting the carcinogens from this chemical compound.  Some people are even concern about the azodicarbonamide content of plastic bottles, glass containers, and rubber products.  Many of these products are labelled as safe but there are other organizations or countries that ban the use of this chemical.

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