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Science of Subway Banana Bread in Canada



Mmmmm, a delicious six-inch Subway sub with a side of chemicals said to be used in yoga mats and shoe soles.

The U.S. sub sandwich chain said it’s working to remove an ingredient called azodicarbonamide from its bread. Turns out, the chemical additive is also in the Canadian sandwich and officials here are in the process of eliminating it from the recipe.
“I can confirm for you that the product improvement measures being undertaken by the U.S. do also apply to Canada,” a Subway Canada spokesperson told Global News.
“We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts, even though it is an approved ingredient by federal regulatory agencies. The complete conversion to have this ingredient out of the bread will be done soon,” another statement, issued Thursday, said.

By Monday morning, Subway told Global News that pending further government approvals, the entire conversion process could be wrapped up “within the coming weeks.”

“We are proud of our leadership in this matter and think that other chains and bread manufacturers may soon follow suit,” the company said in a statement on Feb. 10.

Earlier this week, U.S. health food blogger Vani Hari — known as Food Babe — launched a petition calling on the sandwich chain to remove the chemical from its bread. (You might remember her for spearheading a crusade urging Kraft to remove the orange dyes from the iconic Kraft Dinner.)Science Subway Banana Bread

On her website, she noted that the chemical isn’t used in other countries such as the U.K., across the European Union and in Australia. But it’s readily found in North American subway bread — nine grain wheat, nine grain honey oat, Italian white, Italian Herbs and Cheese, Parmesan Oregano, Roasted Garlic, Sourdough and Monterrey Cheddar breads, to be precise.

The World Health Organization linked azodicarbonamide to respiratory issues, asthma and allergies. Hari says that the chemical is used to make yoga mats, shoe soles and other rubbery objects.

In Subway’s case, it’s being used as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner, which allows them to produce bread faster and cheaper, according to Hari’s petition.

Some 64,000 people have signed the petition already.

“The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon,” Subway said in a statement. According to ABC News, the company said the move had nothing to do with the protest and it was “already in the process…as part of our bread improvement efforts.”

Hari told Global News that she’s asking for meetings to learn more about Subway’s timeline but hasn’t heard back.

“It’s obvious the change comes from the mass amount of consumers upset about this ingredient,” she said, pointing to the company’s Facebook page littered with questions about the bread.

“Their swift action is a testament to what power petitions and individuals have,” she told Global.

Azodiacarbonamide is safe when used as an “aging or bleaching” ingredient and as long as it doesn’t exceed 45 parts per million, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The media contact for Subway Canada did not provide details about how much is used in the sandwich bread in Canada.

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Beyond mommy guilt: Is Canada’s growing meal-kit mania here to stay?



TORONTO — Celebrities like Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, and NSync’s Lance Bass are now in the meal kit business, and for some that’s a sure sign the online subscription-based food startup phenomenon has hit its peak.

A plethora of the new e-commerce meal companies have popped up in Canada and the U.S. in the last couple of years, and subscribers have been joining the services in droves.

While the biggest player in the space, New York-based Blue Apron, does not operate in this country, a number of meal kit services are available locally and nationally for Canadians seeking a quick meal fix: Chef’s Plate, Goodfood, MissFresh, The Jolly Table, Cook It, Kuisto, Fresh City Farms, One Kitchen, Dinnerlicious, Fresh Prep and Germany’s Hello Fresh, to name a few.

There’s even a subscription-based startup for breakfasts, Montreal-based Oatbox, which delivers granolas, ‘overnight’ oats and granola bars to customers.

The convenience factor is undeniable. For about $10 to $13 per meal, customers receive a box of chilled, portioned food and recipes for an easy meal assembly.

The whole industry in the U.S. was founded on mommy guilt

Home chefs are able to cook dishes that evoke an au courant restaurant menu in less than half an hour: lentil mushroom tacos with jicama carrot slaw; mint sumac chicken with sautéed snap peas and carrot, parsnip and cucumber salad; Cajun tilapia over quinoa with a corn and tomato succotash.

But two recent initial public offerings by meal kit companies — including Blue Apron, the biggest player in the United States and Montreal-based Goodfood Market Inc. — ended up looking like a failed soufflé. Skeptics have drawn parallels between the spate of subscription startups and the faddish dot-com failures of the early 2000s.

Indeed, on Friday, Blue Apron announced it is cutting almost a quarter of its staff as it struggles to become a profitable business.

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‘Toronto’ New Restaurant is a Paradise for Bao Lovers



This cleverly named restaurant makes a dizzying array of bao and banh mi, from pork belly to Japanese fried chicken. There’s also banh mi and a host of Asian-inspired appetizers like Bulgogi Kimchi Fries that’ll have you eating until you’re stuffed.

Read my profile of It’s a Bao Time in the restaurants section.

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‘Toronto’ At This Toronto Cafe you Can PWYC for Coffee



One of Toronto’s quirkiest cafes has just become a bit more “kooky” in the words of its founder Liz Haines. Formerly called the Intergalactic Travel Authority, the espresso bar was designed to support Story Planet, a charity modelled after Dave Egger’s 826 Valencia, which provides writing and communication workshops for kids from age six to 18.

Operated as a social enterprise, the Intergalactic Space Authority was never about making tons of money, but the cafe was the economic engine that made running Story Planet out of a storefront space possible. Now, just over three years since it opened, the concept has proven insufficient to fund the operation.

Rather than close up shop, Haines has decided to try something unconventional. “While our social enterprise (formerly known as the ITA) has been an amazing community hub, it has not been financially viable. We have let the espresso machine go and are operating it, for the next little while, as a pay-what-you-can, serve-yourself community lounge,” she notes.

Aside from the loss of the espresso machine, the space remains the same as before, and there’s still drip coffee on offer. The space has always been available to rent ($30 an hour), so the new model isn’t radically different than before, but the notion of a PWYC cafe and lounge is intriguing.

“We’ve been surprised by the incredibly warm reception to this slightly kooky idea,” Haines writes in a blog post.

It will, however, need plenty of support to remain viable. Story Planet is trying out the concept for the month of April, after which time it will decide whether to keep the storefront space at 1165 Bloor St. West or close up shop and continue its programming in schools and community centres.

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