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Panera petitions FDA to clearly define ‘egg’

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With Panera Bread’s launch of new breakfast sandwiches featuring 100% real eggs, the company has announced that it has petitioned the FDA to establish a clear definition for the term “egg.” For Panera “100% real eggs” means freshly prepared, cracked shell eggs and/or egg whites with no additives.

In developing its newest breakfast sandwiches, Panera discovered that current FDA regulations do not establish a definition or a standard of identity for eggs. Panera said without this, companies can sell and advertise items that contain multiple additives, such as butter -type flavors, gums, and added color, under the generic term “egg.”

Panera’s goal in petitioning the FDA is to better support and inform guests in the absence of a true definition for the term “egg.” All of  Panera’s  breakfast sandwiches adhere to the brand’s “100% clean food” commitment. The new sandwiches feature extra-large, freshly cracked eggs cooked to order and served over-easy on a brioche bun made daily by a baker in every U.S. location and topped with classics like Vermont white  cheddar cheese and thick-cut bacon.

“Panera and our competitors use the FDA definitions to guide our product descriptions and names,” said Sara Burnett, Panera’s Director of Wellness and Food Policy. “But in the case of ‘eggs,’ we have no guidance. Brands can say they offer an egg sandwich, but sell an egg product that contains multiple additives. At Panera, consumers can be assured that when they order eggs, that’s exactly what they’re getting.”

After discovering the FDA’s lack of definition for the simple term “egg,” Panera began exploring menus from other companies in the food industry to better understand what’s in their “egg” sandwiches. Panera found that 50 percent of the top 10 fast casual restaurants that sell breakfast have an “egg” made of at least five ingredients, often more. 

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