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Alternate Names

ADCA, Semicarbazide, SEM


Azodicarbonamide is used for the following reasons in the baking industry: to bleach flour (to make flour whiter), as a dough conditioner, and as an aging ingredient.In addition, this chemical is used as a blowing agent in the rubber and plastics industries. Also used as the foaming agent in the plastic gaskets that are used to seal metal lids to glass packaging.

Azodicarbonamide - Quick Stats

ADCA, Semicarbazide, SEM

Allergy Information


Dough Conditioner, Bleaching Agent

Additional Information

The breakdown of azodicarbonamide can cause semicarbazide(SEM)to form. SEM has shown to be a weak carcinogen and use of azodicarbonamide is banned in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. The United States Food & Drug Administration considered the additive as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) and limits the use of azodicarbonamide; not to exceed 45 parts per million.

Found In

Baked goods, bread, flour, whole wheat flour, rolls, buns, white bread, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, bagels, bread crumbs, cereal. Also found in foamed plastic seals (in products packaged in glass jars with metal lids).

Possible Health Effects

Azodicarbonamide can be a "respiratory sensitizer," which if inhaled can trigger an allergic reaction. When azodicarbonamide breaks down, it can form semicarbazide (SEM), which has been found to be a mild a carcinogen in various animal studies.

Allergy Information

May cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals

In The News

9/23/13 - FOOD BABE TV: Are You Eating This Ingredient Banned All Over The World? - article reports that the use of azodicarbonamide is used in food products from Subway, Sara Lee, McDonalds, Wendy's, Arby's and Starbucks. On February 4, 2014, the "Food Babe" launches a campaign to get Subway to remove this chemical from foods.

Online Resources/Related

Print Resources

Copyright February 4, 2014 Be Food Smart

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