Panera petitions FDA to clearly define ‘egg’

Image courtesy of Panera Bread
On Friday, January 19, Panera Bread announced that it had petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish a clear definition of the term ‘egg.’ The move comes in conjunction with the national chain’s new breakfast sandwiches, which it says are made with “100% real eggs.”

In the process of developing these sandwiches, the company discovered that current FDA regulations do not establish a standard for the identity of eggs. Without this in place, companies can sell and advertise items that contain multiple additives, such as butter-type flavors, gums, and added color, all under the generic term of ‘egg.’

“Panera and our competitors use the FDA definitions to guide our product descriptions and names,” says 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.”

The new sandwiches from Panera feature extra-large, freshly cracked eggs cooked to order and served over-easy on a brioche bun, then topped with items like Vermont white cheddar cheese and thick-cut bacon.

“Responsible companies will be transparent about the food items they serve, even if regulation does not require them to do so,” says Blaine Hurst, Panera’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “At Panera, we believe 100% real eggs are the basis for a great breakfast sandwich.”