CSPI on Panera's clean label drive: ‘Just because something is hard to pronounce, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe’

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Panera to drop artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners by 2016

Related tags: E number, Preservative

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has welcomed news that Panera is removing partially hydrogenated oils, butylated hydroxyanisole, and some other ingredients from menus by 2016, but suggested the move is as much a PR stunt as a bid to improve public health.

 “Just because something is artificial or its name is hard to pronounce, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe,​” said CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson.

“Some of the additives Panera is ditching are perfectly innocuous, such as calcium propionate or sodium lactate—so those moves are more about public relations than public health.”

His comments came after Panera unveiled plans to remove artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors and flavors from the food in its bakery-cafes by the end of 2016. Click HERE​ for full details.

He added: “Panera should have made clear that these improvements won’t happen at the soda fountain.  Presumably the high-fructose corn syrup or the poorly tested sweetener acesulfame potassium will remain in the Pepsi and Diet Pepsi it sells; the same goes for the Yellow 5, the calcium disodium EDTA, and the brominated vegetable oil in its Mountain Dew. 

“And, of course, if what you’re having at Panera is a 1,000-calorie panini with a day’s worth of sodium, or a 460-calorie soda, food additives should be the least of your concern.”

Panera's move came shortly after Chipotle announced plans to eliminate GMOs and selected additives from its menus​ (although it will still sell soft drinks with sweeteners from GE corn, and meat and dairy from animals fed GM grains).

Read what’s on Panera’s ‘No No’ list HERE​. 

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2 comments

Dr

Posted by Mark Walton,

Regardless of CSPI's area of expertise their comments are right on. Quite a few products include ingredients that are challenging to spell or pronounce and are not only not unsafe but are downright healthy. Salicylic Acid is an example. Most people know it as aspirin. Using the technical name for an ingredient provides information and clarity. Panera's move is a marketing gimmick and only adds to consumer confusion.

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CSPI IS NOT AN AUTHORITY

Posted by Hugo Cabret,

Why is CSPI cited as a reputable critic of anything? I invite everyone to look at their website (www.cspinet.org) and into who they really are. One will find almost no scientists but an abundance of litigators. What does that have to do with "safety"?

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