MILFORD, CONN. – Less than two months after the company was hit with a barrage of publicity related to the use of azodicarbonamide (A.D.A.) in its bread dough, Subway said sandwich rolls at 75% of its stores are free of the chemical.

“We expect that number to be at 100% within the coming weeks,” a company spokesperson said April 4. “Our previous bread recipe will be out of all our stores by the end of April, and to our knowledge Subway will be the first major restaurant chain in North America to completely remove azodicarbonamide from its core bread formulations.”  

The spokesperson described A.D.A. as a “safe government-approved dough conditioner” and said it is used in most bread and by most brands.

“But removing the trace amount in our breads has long been part of our bread improvement program,” she said. “We introduced azo-free rolls in 2013 and will complete the entire conversion within weeks.”

The use of A.D.A. by Subway and other baking companies was thrust into the public spotlight in February after an on-line petition was filed by the web site FoodBabe aimed at convincing Subway restaurants to stop using the chemical in its sandwich bread.

Then Subway spokesperson said the removal of A.D.A. is only one of several improvements in the company’s sandwich rolls in recent years. She said the company in 2014 has moved to using a 51% whole grain formulation in its 9-Grain wheat bread, equivalent to 100% of the daily whole grain requirement per foot-long sandwich.

In 2012, sodium content was reduced 29% for the 9-grain wheat bread and 42% for Italian bread. A year earlier, high- fructose corn syrup was eliminated from the company’s 9-Grain wheat bread. That same year, bread at Subway was fortified with vitamin D and calcium.