Panera to eliminate artificial additives in its foods

Panera was one of only two restaurant chains to get an A rating regarding their use of antibiotics. (Courtesy Panera)

WASHINGTON — Panera announced a big change coming to its menus: no more artificial additives.

The fast-casual chain announced Tuesday that it will eliminate all artificial additives from its menu by the end of 2016.

The change means there will be no more artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives.

“I want to serve food that I want to eat,” Ron Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera, told USA TODAY in a phone interview.

Senior Strategic Director for Health and Food for the Natural Resources Defense Council Erik Olson says Panera is an industry leader.

“The company has been purchasing chicken raised without antibiotics for more than a decade — and over the years expanded to roasted turkey, ham, and sausage. We support their newest commitment to remove artificial additives. We look forward to working with them to ensure all their ingredients are essential and safe,” Olson said in a news release.

USA TODAY reports the following additives that will be removed from Panera’s menu items:

  • Deli smoked turkey: potassium lactate, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite and sodium diacetate.
  • Horseradish: calcium disodium EDTA.
  • Citrus Pepper Chicken: maltodextrin, potassium lactate.
  • Cilantro Jalape

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