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What Are Bojangles Ingredients? (Let Me Warn You.)

Today I’m launching a petition asking the restaurant chain Bojangles’ Famous Chicken & Biscuits to: (1) formally prohibit the routine use of antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention in the production of their meat, with a concrete policy and timeline, and to (2) publish their complete ingredient list online. Here’s why…

Last summer, I volunteered at a local elementary school and noticed that they were serving Bojangles’ for breakfast. I asked the school administrators if they knew what was in Bojangles’ food or if they had an ingredient list that they could share with me – and they told me they didn’t know the ingredients. Hundreds of kids were eating it, but no one had any idea what was in it. How does this happen? I asked myself.

Well, if you know me… this drove me crazy! That is when this investigation and petition were born.

I grew up eating Bojangles’ and they have a really large presence here in Charlotte. You see their advertising everywhere – sporting events, local charities, and schools! I used to eat it every Friday in high school when seniors were allowed to leave the school campus for lunch. I’d get everything – the fries, the sweet iced tea, and that famous fried chicken! Obviously, I didn’t know or care about what I was eating back then – but given the health crisis we face in this country (especially here in the south), if we are going to make good informed decisions about what we are eating – we need to know what’s in our food!

My team started working on this investigation about a year ago by simply contacting Bojangles’ customer service and asking about the ingredients in their food. 

We initially reached out to Bojangles’ via their contact form to ask for ingredients in some menu items and didn’t receive responses. We tried this several times and received absolutely nothing back from them which seemed somewhat strange from a customer service standpoint. When we followed up with phone calls, the customer service agents told us they didn’t have any ingredient lists and couldn’t provide any information, but that they would ask someone from corporate to call us back. They never called or emailed us back – not a peep!

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One thing I really want to know… are Bojangles’ biscuits really made “from scratch” with the “freshest ingredients”?

In a news release Bojangles’ says, “can’t give away all of our secrets, but I can say that we start every batch of biscuits with the freshest ingredients. It’s what our customers expect and deserve”.

They’ve always claimed to make their biscuits “from scratch” and this is something that they are famous for. When I hear the words “from scratch”, I tend to believe that means that they’re made from ingredients that are typically used in the kitchen – no chemical additives and ingredients that you’d expect in biscuits like flour, butter, and milk. On the other hand, I also know that most restaurants – especially fast food restaurants – are notorious for taking shortcuts and add all kinds of synthetic chemicals like preservatives, MSG, artificial flavors, and colors to their food. For example, KFC lists the ingredients for their biscuits online and they are filled with partially hydrogenated soy and cottonseed oils, DATEM, natural and artificial flavors, and TBHQ. KFC also adds MSG to their chicken. 

When Bojangles’ refuses to share their ingredients, I can’t help but be skeptical and wonder if they are using ingredients like these too!

We did eventually uncover one ingredient in Bojangles’ chicken – and it’s a biggie! 

In a last ditch effort, we contacted a Bojangles’ regional office (Tands, Inc. Bojangles’) and received an email back from their Area Supervisor with some very interesting information.

We asked what type of oil they use in their fryers as this is used to cook a number of their items like their chicken, fries, country-fried steak and the cajun filet. The representative stated they use All Fry ZT (Blended Liquid Shortening Made from Canola Oil and Beef Fat) in their fryers.

What else do we know about the food at Bojangles’?

Until they agree to disclose ingredients, we are pretty much in the dark. Bojangles’ allergen statement from 2013 found online indicates there is soy in their biscuits, which could mean that they use soybean oil instead of butter (but we won’t know for sure until they stop hiding their ingredients).

Soybean oil is one of the most unhealthy oils out there which increases the risk of obesityinflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. It’s almost always made from GMO soybeans. When researchers tested GMO soybeans they found that they contain high levels of residues from the herbicide glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) compared to non-GMO soybeans. This is a huge issue, as glyphosate has been linked to cancer in many studies – so this is not something I want to be eating and why I avoid GMOs like the plague.

Bojangles’ apparently uses MSG too. According to their 2013 allergen statement, MSG is in all of their kids meals. It also shows that MSG is added to their seasoned fries, green beans, dirty rice, country-fried steak, ranch sauce, and blue cheese salad dressing. 

Bojangles’ needs to tell us what’s in their food NOW.

Providing customers with full and transparent ingredient information shows that Bojangles’ is a trustworthy company that is proud of their products. Besides, there are a growing number of consumers that are seeking out ingredient information because we are concerned about food additives and their relation to health, or have other allergies and food sensitivities that are not provided on their allergen statement. Without full ingredient disclosure, consumers are left in the dark and this is preventing them from eating at Bojangles’. Most competitors release ingredients when asked – and it surely seems bizarre that Bojangles’ refuses to release even minute details about what is in their food. But, it doesn’t end there.

Besides refusing to tell us what’s in their food, Bojangles’ does not have an antibiotics-use policy for the raising of their meat.

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Almost all chickens raised in factory farms are routinely fed antibiotics, day in and day out. This practice should be stopped and here’s why: 

  • This misuse of antibiotics is creating superbugs that could threaten the entire human population. When animals are constantly fed low levels of antibiotics, they become a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can spread to humans.
  • We now have bacterial infections that only a few years ago could be cured and are now not responsive to any known antibiotics. Thousands of people are dying every year and experts believe it’s going to get worse.

The overuse of antibiotics is one of the most pressing health issues of our time. 

I personally reached out to Ken Scott, the Director of Quality Assurance at Bojangles’ (and cc’d the CEO), last December and asked him to provide me with their ingredient list and their policy on antibiotics in the production of their meat. 

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And, was told that many of their menu items are “proprietary” and that they couldn’t make that information available: 

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I pressed for more information, especially since all major fast food chains publish their ingredients online and my question about antibiotics was ignored: 

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Almost an entire year has gone by now and nothing has changed.

As I did with McDonalds, SubwayIn-N-Out Burger and KFC, I joined several consumer interest groups to formally ask Bojangles’ to prohibit the routine use of antibiotics in the raising of their meat. We sent a letter on April 29th, 2016 to ask for these changes.

Our collective activism has worked in the past and we hope that it will again this time. 

What happens next? Here’s what you can do!

When we work together, we have been able to move mountains. You can join us by asking Bojangles’ to improve their practices. 

Make Your Voice Heard: Sign The Petition!

Sign this petition

You are joining over 9,975 supporters to make this happen!

By signing, you accept our privacy policy.

After you are done signing, consider further action:

Please share this post with your friends and family. The more pressure the faster we change Bojangles for the better.

Xo,

Vani

 

If anyone shames you for posting about this on social media or attacks you for taking a stand, please read this post on what to do here and share it! 

 

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29 responses to “What Are Bojangles Ingredients? (Let Me Warn You.)

  1. Contacted Bojangles via Facebook (which is being monitored) as well as through their feedback form.

      1. I worked for bojangles and their food is safe and the biscuits are made from scratch with buttermilk

      2. I worked for Bojangles too. The chicken breading is made daily and the chicken is breaded with it daily. The biscuits are made from scratch with regular ingredients you’d have at home. And the one I worked for ordered chicken that was natural with no antibiotics used. I know because I did the food truck orders. They’re completely safe.

  2. While I understand the desire to improve ingredient quality at places like Bojangles, I’d more strongly suggest avoiding meat as much of the environmental and health impacts of its consumption could be negated by eating none (or substantially less) of it.

    1. One way to create awareness about healthier plant based choices out there is to understand what you are eating. If Bojangles refuses to disclose ingredients, how can anyone decide for themselves? A lot of the preservatives, additives and flavorings in fast food meat keep me away – but need more transparency to make better decisions. Also – the antibiotics issues affects all of us whether we eat meat or not – We all have an obligation to hold these companies responsible.

      1. I totally agree and it’s the antibiotics and hormones that are really getting me down these days! I know will only buy meat that is antibiotic and hormone free, even if it costs me 3 times as much. Because I’m learning you will spend one way or the other and I don’t want my girls to suffer the infertility issues I have (and the 50,000 I had to spend) all because of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. You’ll pay now in money or you’ll pay later in health. And we all get to choose.

      2. Instead of trying to get information from Bojangles you would better serve fast food chicken customers by starting your own chicken business. Then you could provide us with the best and healthiest chicken and run Bojangles out of business. We would love to have alternatives.

  3. Dear Food babe and Readers,

    I completely support GMO labeling and the importance of raising awareness of the understanding what is in our food. Coming from a background of a biologist, I do think reading a couple of articles in this blog the voice of opinion presented here is very strong and I hope that there would be more informational type articles as well, with only facts so people can make their own choices. I want to know more about why certain ingredients may be harmful and which GMO crops should be avoided?

    I am sure many ingredients in processed foods are most likely harmful and I would like to know which ones and to which people they are harmful to. There is still so much about the human body that we still do not understand and different genetics react to different chemicals and foods differently. Most food ingredients are approved by the FDA because they have been tested to not be harmful to the North American public . . but when these foods are imported to places such as Asia, Asian genetics respond to the same ingredients differently and for some the ingredients may be fatally toxic. They are perfectly safe for one population and fatal for the other.

    I would really be interested in a method or diet that can help people decided how to chose what foods they should or should not eat for their individual bodies. Some sort of guideline or test they can do themselves, because similar to people who have celiac’s disease who can’t eat gluten, that doesn’t mean everyone can’t eat gluten. I think it is time we stop the one cap fits all model of health and realize we are all different and instead of instilling rules, we should teach people how to develop their own health food pyramids. Let’s enter the age of individual health plans, tailored health goals.

    As a scientist and citizen I am respectful of GMOs food crops and I know GMO’s have helped many farmers and improved their livelihood. GMOs is also the only reason why food prices can be kept low because of crop improvements, the cost of farming goes down and therefore food prices are more affordable. I don’t think GMO should ever be eliminated, but I do think that it’s health effects should be seriously studied over long term studies and GMO should not be the scape goat of many modern problems. I think we should all seek understanding instead of a vendetta against new technology. It is undeniable the sheer number of lives GMO has saved across the world. Besides the corn we eat today organic or GMO is completely different from the corn from 1000 years ago. Change is happening and GMO is a faster way of change, it’s just our bodies, can we handle this changed food? Are we changing as quickly? Maybe we cannot but maybe our children can. Did you know most of the world population is under 30 years old and the average age of the world population is 30? What matters really is can our children handle this new food, because honestly, they are the world now. The older population is going to be a smaller and smaller percentage of the world.

    Just some thoughts for today.

    1. Also as a scientist and citizen I am in horror that you could defend GMO. Take 2 teaspoons of roundup and call me in the morning! Its hard to believe you would think glyphosate in foods could be safe.

      GMO crops sounded promising but have been a disappointment. GMO cotton in India was a complete failure. The legal tactics of Monsanto over their seeds and cross-pollinations to non-GMO fields is outrageous! GMO IS A FAILURE! Economically and health related.

      I hope you actually apply some critical thinking to your response and weigh the evidence. I’m certain you will think differently.

      BTW- I used to work for Monsanto before they became evil.

      -S

    2. Greetings. . . . I have been within the wide and growing field of the healing arts since the early 80’s. The answer for the majority of health issues, dodging the political wipe lash such as the recent passing of the Dark Act regardless of the reality that over 92 plus percent of Americans who want clear/simple listing of ingredients of all foods, and finally . . . wake up to the reality of governmental big business blatant blind greed is simple ::: STOP EATING THAT COMERICALIZED FOOD PERIOD!. Only eat God Based Foods Period!. . . Support Organic and or no spray farming and educate yourself. Going to commercialized restaurants or buying processed foods after all of the information that has been coming out for years is crazy. You are putting yourself directly into harms way!!! Stop It. . !!! If people really want to regain and maintain their health, then eat foods that do not bite back. Shop the perimeter of any and all stores. Science and research is/are still finding new information/nutritional ingredients of what has been newly discovered/contained within God made foods. Stay away from MAN MADE FOODS!!! I have seen and talked with people who were sick and recovered their health and have not been sick for years because they HAVE CHANGED THEIR DIET…PERIOD!!! People eat junk dead/destroyed foods and wonder why they are getting sick. Big business is not going to stop their practices until the government changes. . . In the last eight years, the government’s disregard/greed and back room politics has /is getting worse!!! It is going to take a serious change of heart within all Americans to stand up and say no, it’s over and pull the plug. . . It took 10 to 15 years of political protest from the public to stop the Vietnam War. Americans have to become pro-active in fighting back. . Hit them where it hurts. . VOTES and BUYING POWER… Buy and support ORGANIC… People say it is expensive. . . You want to talk about expensive. .. get sick and see how expensive it is . . . You can sit back and point fingers or you can fight back with every meal you eat. Eat fresh foods and drink half of your weight in OUNCES OF WATER EVERY DAY. . . That IS YOUR GOAL.!! IT TAKES TIME BUT IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE !!! You will feel the results speaking for themselves in a very short time. . . I have been using alternative body therapies techniques/teaching nutrition since the early 80’s.Find or make a group of people to buy in bulk, pay folks to grow food for you, grow some of your own, community gardens, rent land from a farmer and grow/take classes/barter/ educate yourself. There is SO MUCH INFORMATION AVAILABLE to LEAD THE WAY !!!
      I am writing a series of cookbooks and I have been breaking down the cost of each meal and it is not that expensive. You are going to get out of it what you put into it. Period!. It is not going to happen over night but if you persevere, you will reap great benefits. I have said this before and it is the living truth that if you change what you eat and drink, your body will change for the better. KNOW THIS !!! Your body has an INNATE ABILITY TO HEAL ITSELF IF GIVEN THE CHANCE . . . Here is some reading info . . . GET AFTER IT > > > Eat RIght 4 Your Type, Food Combining Made Easy, The Fast DIet, The Microbiome DIet, Your Body’s Cries For Water, The Wellness Journal, What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You, Grain Brain. . . . . and on and on!!! All of these books can be purchased used and or go to the library!!! Some can be downloaded and printed. .. IF you do not know do some research. IF you know someone who is really healthy, GO TALK WITH THEM and ASK FOR HELP !!! YOU CAN Go ask someone and find some partners or a group to work together.
      God’s Peace and Health Divinely So!!
      jpakdc
      p.s. when you learn something that really works for you, share it with your family, friends and your community.

    3. Tina 5 years ago I felt like you. I have a master’s in nutrition and worked in a hospital seeing for 30 years. All the while I believed just what Monsanto wanted us to believe and that was gmo’s are needed to feed the world. Besides the FDA is out to protect our food supply – right? And we all know organic food is expensive.
      I encourage you to do the necessary research to understand what has happened to our food supply since the 70’s. Please don’t expect FoodBabe to to provide this technical information her role is to raise awareness of what we are putting into our bodies. Once I did the research it was a real eye opener. Everything became clearer as to why we are the sickest nation in the world. Our cheap foods is subsidized by our government. That’s why it’s cheap but you pay the price with life long health issues. I recently purchased an organic farm to assure the quality of the food my family and friends are eating. Food is made from scratch and it tastes heavenly and is not time consuming. GMO’s are not what they appear to be and the head of the FDA is a former Monsanto lawyer. The reason why the Monsanto sponsored experiments never showed rumor growth in animals is the length of time was shortened so as not to show the ill effects from the GMO. I strongly encourage you to take your health seriously because corporations despite their sound bites are interested in their bottom line not your health. Your body has the innate ability to heal itself given good wholesome foods. Good luck on your healthy journey!

  4. I worked for Bojangles for two years as a teen (late 90’s), and one of my many duties included being a biscuit maker. I can confirm that at that time the biscuits, which each are made from scratch in-house were made using four ingredients. These ingredients included flour, buttermilk, lard and baking mix, which contained baking soda, baking powder and salt. These hands made thousands of biscuits then, but I can’t attest to what they use now. But, I would assume that much hasn’t changed since then, considering the success they have had that continues to grow.
    But, again, it’s hard to tell these days.

    1. Again, if there is nothing to hide, why hide it when asked? There’s no reason why a chain that has over 600 stores can’t disclose their ingredients!

  5. If Bojangles has nothing to hide,why won’t you publish your ingredients list? And what is your policy regarding the use of antibiotics in raising the meat that you serve to our families?

  6. I have never tasted a Bojangle as I live in New Zealand and as far as I know we don’t have them here So I can not realy coment on what they are like. BUT.I don’t like what I have read about the jangle If they can not be honest about what they make them with I don’t think I would be interested in eating them. Regards Peter

  7. Hi Vani,
    I read your articles and watch your videos. I have long been disturbed about what passes for food in our society. Unlike you, my children were not raised with fast food. In fact, my youngest son asked me to buy him a Big Mac when he was in High School because he felt “culturally deprived” :). I bought him one. He went back to camp (he was working at a Boy Scout camp), got sick and never wanted to see the inside of a “McDemons” again. That is not to say they’ve never had junk food, they have, but they KNOW that it’s junk. I used to love Bojangles chicken and their red beans and rice. I don’t eat any of it anymore…too old to risk getting sick. I signed, tweeted and posted.

  8. I went on the Bojangles Facebook page and expressed the sugar link to cancer. You know, the pink icing they are using to support breast cancer awareness is being used on their “food”…. I was viciously attacked by their followers. I had to block them from leaving me messages. I give it to you, Vani, for doing this job because I couldn’t handle the attacks. I feel as if people will eat this poison whether the ingredients are divulged or not. This processed food caters to a certain public and they will not stop eating it no matter what. It’s addiction to chemicals. And for many, it’s all they can afford. Perhaps when one experiences severe health consequences, it’s easier to come to terms with the diet health connection, but sadly for many, it will never register. Please go after the toxic laundry chemical industry as you have because it’s serious to have neurotoxic and carcinogenic chemicals in detergents, fabric softeners. Plus, this poison is making people really sick…and is being spewed out all over neighbors polluting the air, water table, and tap water. A travesty. Thank you.

  9. I am new to our site and twitter. What are the 10 foods you should never eat?

    Thank you for your information. Please food industry has placed profits over nutrition. Doubt it will change but we can help ourselves

  10. Food Babe
    Instead of trying to get information from Bojangles you would better serve fast food chicken customers by starting your own chicken business. Then you could provide us with the best and healthiest chicken and run Bojangles out of business. We would love to have alternatives.

  11. we too have contacted Bojangles for ingredients of the oil they use for fries and also biscuits.
    we were told veg oil and beef tallow for the fries and soybean oil for biscuits. However, we have
    a lot of friends that are vegetarians, and they have stopped eating the fries. When we discovered
    that they use beef tallow, we stopped eating there completely. We were going almost everyday.
    but we have made changes until they make a change. Keep up the good work! thanks, bh

  12. Hey food babe: thanks for the info. I have learned lonnnngg ago that canola oil is bad for you and I now consciously avoid it. It made my dad’s body twitch with something akin to electrical shocks, by my sisters’s research she found the oil was stripping the fibrous protective sheath(mylin?) from the nerve endings.He dumped all his popcorn oil (canola) down the toilet and about 6-8 months later he realized that his twitches had vanished. I have been craving bo-rounds but i will now make them myself at home, thanks to you and your awesome efforts !!!

  13. I have an idea. If you want to know exactly what your eating make it yourself. If you don’t want to eat Bojangles don’t. I think it’s ridiculous businesses having to change their recipes to please people ie personal or religious reasons. What a joke how you people are so sensitive to everything.

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