WASHINGTON, June 4, 2015 -- Subway announced today it will remove “artificial ingredients” from its menu by 2017, making the sandwich shop the latest fast food chain to commit to menu changes in favor of simpler ingredients.

Subway committed to removing “all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from all of our sandwiches, salads, cookies and soups in North America over the next 18 months,” according to its website.

“These improvements will be made gradually, without sacrificing taste,” said a Subway spokesperson in an email, noting that the brand has a widely diverse menu with more ingredients that many other fast casual chains.  “Most of all, the brand wanted to make these changes without driving up the price of its sandwiches.”

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) said Subway’s decision “is an important step toward a cleaner and healthier food system and a big win for Americans who don’t want potentially harmful substances in their food.”

The restaurant got rid of the chemical ADA, or azodicarbonimide, from its bread last year after a food blogger drew attention to the use of the ingredient, even though it is recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Other fast food chains have been making similar changes over the past year. Panera published a long list of ingredients in May that the restaurant no longer uses or will phase out by the end of 2016. Chipotle announced the removal of genetically modified ingredients from its menu offering in April, although the chain still serves meat raised with genetically engineered crops and sodas containing high fructose corn syrup.

Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Noodles and Co. also committed this year to eventually removing artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.


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