What is Azodicarbonamide (ADA)? Its Function in Food and FDA Regulation

What is Azodicarbonamide (ADA)?

Azodicarbonamide(ADA), or also named as azoformamide, is a chemical compound with the molecular formula C₂H₄O₂N₄. It is a yellow to orange-red, odorless, crystalline powder. It is used as a whitening agent and dough conditioner in bakery products.

Function of Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

  • The primary function of azodicarbonamide is centered on the way it breaks down during processing — it creates tiny bubbles that make things “foamy.
  • Scientists discovered it whitened flour and acted as an oxidizing agent.
  • Bleaching agent: it makes the bread whiter by reacting with cartonene in the flour.
  • When bread dough is treated with azodicarbonamide, it can break down the gluten and make glutenin and gliadin more immediately available.
  • Azodicarbonamide does not accelerate the onset of rancidity in flour. Natural or enrichment vitamins are unaffected by azodicarbonamide.

Also Read: Functions of Gluten in Bakery Products

Health Concerns with Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

  • According to a World Health Organization (WHO) follow-up report, regular occupational exposure to azodicarbonamide can lead to asthma and allergies.
  • Prolonged physical exposure to azodicarbonamide caused recurring dermatitis.
  • Direct exposure to azodicarbonamide inhibited human immune cell formation and function.
  • While azodicarbonamide is used to condition bread dough, when it’s baked, the heat causes it to break down. Two by-products can result: semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate.  Semicarbazide belongs to a family of chemicals known as hydrazines that are especially carcinogenic. European and Australian officials have banned its use in bread.(Globalhealingcenter)

Also Read: Different Varieties of Flours – All Purpose Flours – Their Uses (For Bakery)

FDA Regulations on the use of Azodicarbonamide(ADA)

“Health officials” may claim this trash is safe in low doses, but who’s monitoring exposure?

Azodicarbonamide (ADA) has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status and can be added to flour at levels up to 45 ppm. ADA must be declared in the statement of ingredients.

ADA as a food additive is banned in Australia and Europe. The FDA continues to evaluate the safe use of ADA in foods and considers ADA as a safe food additive when used for the purposes and at the levels specified in FDA regulations.(Bakerpedia)

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