Panera Wants FDA to Crack Down on Eggs

Panera want you to know that they will sell you a better egg sandwich than anyone else. This is a natural extension of their smug advertising that tells us they sell “food as it should be.” So now, they’d like a little help from FDA. They want the agency to crack down on fast food egg sandwiches that don’t measure up to theirs. In short, they want a new definition for eggs.

Egg or Eggish?

Panera says they use 100% real eggs in their breakfast sandwiches. McDonald’s uses “fresh-cracked eggs” in its Egg McMuffin. But if you roll into a Burger King, you’ll get an egg sandwich made from a liquid egg pasteurized mixture.

What’s the difference? Advance preparation. The logistics of preparing egg sandwiches on the spot is messy. Advance preparation is much tidier, more efficient.

But according to Panera, it’s not the way eggs were meant to be. So the company petitioned FDA to update their definition of real eggs to exclude products made from anything but whole fresh eggs. Everything else would be an egg product or egg patty. Or something else that sounds yucky.

Good luck with that. FDA does indeed have definitions for real food, but they are dated. And what’s more, opening them up for debate opens a can of worms. If you want a case study, you can read up on the fight about whether vegan mayo is really mayo. Long story short: these definitions have lots of wiggle room.

Nice try, Panera. Most likely the only thing that petition will bring is some PR value. It’s pretty clear that this is just a publicity stunt to reinforce a puffed-up advertising campaign. Panera’s director of food policy, Sara Burnett, told the Washington Post:

We hope that FDA seriously considers our petition. But even if they don’t, we’re happy with the conversation we’ve created.

Yep. She knows this is going nowhere.

Click here for more from the Washington Post and here for more on what’s in your breakfast sandwich.

Egg, photograph © Frédérique Voisin-Demery / flickr

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January 28, 2018