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Because Of You, Panera Bread is Removing 150 Additives (But Don’t Eat There Just Yet).

I owe a huge thanks to my Mom for inspiring me to investigate Panera Bread back in April of 2012. Every single one of my investigations into certain food products and restaurant chains has been personal or inspired by one of my close friends or relatives.

When I see the people I love eating questionable additives that have no business being in our food, I can’t help but want to educate them to what’s happening in the food supply. That’s exactly why I started this blog – to help as many people as I can get healthy and break free from the toxins in our food.

As soon as my Mom heard the news that Panera was removing 150 additives from their food, she called me and said “The fruits of your labor have paid off, I am proud of you and the Food Babe Army.”

These types of changes from major food chains are the result of the increased awareness we have been able to gain with our movement. Once you know this information you can’t unlearn it and that’s why sharing what you find out about what’s in our food with your loved ones is so valuable and changes the world.

Panera Bread-2

Creating Awareness Is Our Biggest Weapon As Consumers

What seemed like a simple blog post back in 2012 was actually read and seen by thousands of people because you shared it. It is that small act of sharing that can move mountains and create awareness.

And yes, another mountain of the chemical foolishness in our food is being removed thankfully by a company that cares to take a stand for better ingredients and better health.

We will soon be able to kiss these ingredients goodbye at Panera: 


*Note: Orange text indicated ingredients are still in Panera Bread’s food and will be removed in future.

Granted, some of the additives that Panera’s removing are not believed to be harmful, but they are simply unnecessary and not ingredients that you would cook with at home. However, several of them are linked to known health risks and for that reason….

The CEO of Panera Bread is a hero for removing these chemicals and standing up for safer ingredients!

I’ve read a significant number of media reports on this recent announcement and I can tell you – some people are not happy about these changes.

I don’t know anyone in their right mind that wants to eat a long list of chemical additives vs. real food.

That is, unless they are making money off of them or advertising for them. Some are saying that the removal of these chemicals is just a “PR move” that isn’t based on “science”, in order to minimize the message Panera Bread is sending to the marketplace.

This is what Panera Bread’s CEO Ron Shaich told reporters:

“How do I want to feed my daughter?’ That’s the gold standard question and when I answer that, it tells me what I want to do for my customers. Because my customers are no different than my daughter.”

If food industry executives would put themselves in the shoes of real people they would make totally different decisions and that’s why we need to keep on the pressure and make our voice loud and clear.

I love how Panera Bread reached out to consumer protection organizations like the respected Environmental Working Group and NRDC to implement these changes. I wish more companies would work with these science-based consumer focused organizations to evaluate the impact of their ingredients. 

Some of the ingredients Panera Bread is removing have very important risks that the media should be covering, like these:

Artificial colors: Fake colors like Yellow #5, Red #40 and caramel coloring are on EWG’s list of top 12 food additives to avoid. The Scientific American recently reported that evidence has revealed that artificial food dyes do have capacity to harm and for that reason they should be banned by the FDA. Also caramel coloring is associated with cancer – reason enough to leave this unnecessary ingredient out of our food.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)This controversial synthetic preservative is considered by the FDA to be safe in small amounts, but it’s added to an insurmountable number of products. Not only will you find it in cereals, chewing gum, and crackers, but it’s widely used in animal feed, plastics, pesticides, paints and cosmetics. Due to its prevalence, BHT has been shown to contaminate our environment (including meat & dairy products) and no one knows exactly how much of it we are really ingesting. BHT is linked to cancer in animal studies and believed to be an endocrine disruptor that interferes with hormones. Our petition to get BHT out of the most popular cereals in this country has received over 50,000 signatures, and is continuing to inspire change.

Partially hydrogenated oils: One of the worst ingredients in our food that the FDA still hasn’t banned. The CDC links these artificial trans fats to up to 20,000 heart attacks every year!

Hidden MSG: Ingredients like hydrolyzed proteins and yeast extracts are used as flavor enhancers by the food industry, because they have the same active ingredient as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) but look “cleaner” on the label. These unnecessary additives are used to make processed food taste better, can cause you to overeat, and are linked to neurological disorders according to Dr. Russell Blaylock in his book, “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills”.

Sodium Phosphate: This popular preservative is in a ton of processed food, and when you eat too much it can elevate the phosphate level in your blood. High phosphate levels are associated with increased mortality (even in healthy people), kidney disorders, heart disease and accelerated aging. 

High Fructose Corn Syrup: This type of sweetener has been shown to contribute more to obesity and diabetes than regular cane sugar (sucrose).


So how did The Food Babe Army inspire these incredible changes?

In 2012, I first exposed what’s really in Panera Bread’s Fuji Apple Salad, which sounds healthy but is heavily processed and loaded with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients like corn syrup and canola oil. The Greek Salad Dressing has propylene glycol in it, which is also sometimes used in antifreeze, can be toxic in large doses, and it is simply “less toxic” than traditional antifreeze (ethylene glycol) according to the EPA. I wrote about Panera’s ham sandwiches (including the one on their kids menu), which comes with a dose of nitrates, linked to Alzheimer’s and stomach cancer. I also divulged the dirty details about the hidden MSG in several of their menu items including their Broccoli & Cheese Soup and Low Fat Black Bean Soup. None of these artificial additives are necessary, and there’s safer alternatives available. After this investigation it was clear that Panera Bread didn’t deserve the title of the “#1 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurant in America” and these aren’t ingredients that I wanted my Mom to be eating! 

In June of 2014, after thousands of people read the initial blog post and shared it with their loved ones, Panera Bread finally announced that they would commit to removing all artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives and flavors by 2016. I was interviewed by CNBC at the time, and called on other major restaurants like McDonald’s to do the same (which I hear they are working on). 

Now, almost exactly 3 years since my initial investigation, Panera Bread is finally doing what needed to be done a long time ago!

But, don’t eat there just yet! A word of caution before you eat at Panera. 

While I’m so thrilled to see Panera take such a huge step, I realize it’s only a start and we have a long way to go. Many of the ingredients listed above are not slated to be removed from their food until the end of 2016. That’s over a year and a half away! 

What will still be in Panera’s food that I’m concerned about?

It’s important to note that Panera Bread still plans to use some genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. Several of their menu items likely contain GMOs, and it’s not labeled on their menu. The good news is that they list their complete ingredients online, so you can always check there and avoid items that contain ingredients that are usually GMO, such as:

  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sugar – if it’s not listed as “cane sugar” it likely comes from GMO sugar beets
  • Dextrose
  • Corn syrup – Panera is removing “high fructose corn syrup”, but corn syrup may be found in some items
  • Animal products – all of the dairy and meat used at Panera is likely raised on GMO feed
  • Sodas & drinks – they will continue to serve soda products, which are usually sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners

There’s a complete list of common GMO ingredients here, for you to use as a reference. Ideally, Panera Bread should go organic, because there’s a huge difference between non-GMO and organic food (and organic food is always the best choice). 

Panera also didn’t announce that they are removing carrageenan from their food. According to Cornucopia Institute and several doctors, this ingredient causes gastrointestinal inflammation and causes real problems for many people. I would definitely avoid menu items that include carrageenan as well.

Who’s Next? This wave of change can’t be stopped.

Chemical additives are dropping from food faster than I ever thought was possible. Let’s keep the momentum going. Share this blog post with everyone you know, including restaurants that you want to see make positive changes like these. It was just reported last week that Wendy’s is going to start serving organic iced tea. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they also cleaned up their food like Panera is doing, offered some more organic options and went antibiotic-free? Let me know in the comments below which restaurant you want to see change. I can’t wait to see who’s next.




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201 responses to “Because Of You, Panera Bread is Removing 150 Additives (But Don’t Eat There Just Yet).

  1. I am one of those who reacts to sulfur dioxide, plus the other names relating to sulfur dioxide. I am glad they will remove that also. Themnmaybe I can eat food that will not cause me to gasp for air. I am that 1% of people are sensitive to sulfur dioxide

  2. I’m one of the Canadian soldiers :)) in the Food Babe army, and you have quite a few cross border soldiers by the way….I have been following you with gratitude and respect for quite awhile.
    I visit the States often and hate the eatery choices. It’s no better here. By the time my next visit rolls around I will be able to put Panera on the list of places I would go.
    Don’t ever stop doing what you are doing, plus keeping it close and personal with your followers.

  3. My thought….why does it take a year and a half to “remove” all the bad stuff?

    1. They probably have to re formulate recipes, find ne vendors and suppliers etc. that takes time and negotiating and experimenting to get right. Also, when sourcing organic/all natural ingredients from (usually smaller) companies, you have to make sure they can keep up with demand.

      It’s a pretty radical move. It’s almost like panera is starting from scratch, starting a whole new company. Good things take time. 🙂 I’d be more suspect if they claimed these changes could happen overnight.

      1. The answer is simple: The faster they remove the crap the more money they lose. I’d never believe it takes 20 months!

      2. I’m with Joel on this one. They want to correct this so they can seem like a good business, but they refuse to lose a lot of money in the process.

    2. Foodbabe, you need to start a restaurant chain for us!! All clean and wholesome non GMO’d food … Wouldn’t that be amazing?!!

      1. Yesss…I’ve often thought, if I had the money, first thing I’d do is open up an all organic resturant, or grocery store. Well maybe one day someone will make one huh? Luckily though in my town, there are quite a few places I can buy everything I need organic. Just have to go sometimes three or four different places, which is ok, but somewhat aggravating. It’s worth it, for the health reasons, right?

      2. Melanie… I, like Joan C have often thought about doing just that too! Especially since there appears now to be a great market for it. Maybe our thoughts should go into a “collective” group who each contribute something to the idea of making this happen?

  4. I applaud your work and very happy about Panera moving forward and removing these harmful chemicals. It will take them a year and a half because they will need to make new food labels, menu’s etc. My concern is what will they add back in/substitute to replace these items….time will tell.

    Thank you Vani for your hard work.

  5. Vani, my husband and I travel a often, are vegan, have some food sensitivities, and try to find healthy food restaurants. Do you have any info on Jason’s Deli or Sweet Tomatoes? We do eat there and are always wondering what we are really eating. Thank you. It is great to be a part of your team!

  6. I have an answer as to why a chain like Panera doesn’t go organic, it’s too darn expensive. Eating well means a significantly higher grocery bill, when decent food can be found at all. Vani, your next Food Babe mission is to figure out how to lower the price so that those of us on a fixed income can afford quality food. Then perhaps the chain grocery stores will carry organic REAL food. 🙂

    1. Organic groceries should be less expensive then conventional.
      Less chemicals are needed to grow organically . We need more growers to grow organic ,.more consumers to buy it . Eventually price’s will go down .
      Good biology in the soil will set great big healthy crops….good biology means healthy soil full of healthy bacteria. BENEFICIAL symbiotic bacteria in the soil protect and feed the plants and assist the plant in creating its natural defenses . What this means grower could eliminate fungicides, insecticides, herbicides .means lower prices ..

      Sun n earth microbiology. GUILLERMO VAZQUEZ.

      1. I agree William and it’s all about EDUCATION. I ate what I wanted for 44 years before I found FoodBabe and bought her awesome book. Now I am on a mission to ensure my family and those I know and love eat more healthy. It simply isn’t always possible but I do my best to make smart choices whenever and wherever I can. We need grassroots efforts in every state to encourage (okay DEMAND) that growers do exactly as you suggest!

      2. Guillermo, I grew up on a small farm. Producing food without chemicals requires MUCH MORE human effort, for which farmers have to pay wages. Most farmers operate from year to year and bank loan to bank loan and also receive government subsidies just to stay afloat. This is why so many began using chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers etc. It meant they could farm larger areas of land with fewer people. The tradeoff was the food is less healthy. Scientists since the 1930s have been writing about declining nutrient values in food. No wonder so many people constantly snack. Their bodies are starving for nutrients that just are not present in the products made from most modern agriculture. Fortunately, the paradigm may be ready to tip toward greater numbers of small farms using more conscious practices that supply as much food as large mono-crop farms but produce healthier, more nutritious food.

      3. I’ve read that certifying (and labeling) food as organic is costly for the company/farm that sells it. Those costs are not incurred by sellers of non-organic food. So once again, federal regulations favor the “bad” in our food supply and make it tougher to sell and afford the “good.”

      4. I farm conventionally so have some knowledge about this subject. Organic crops don’t yield near what conventional crops do in most cases. There is far more labor involved in organic production. Regardless of what you believe, there are plenty of pesticides used in organic production that not quite as effective as what I use. I don’t know about the cost of these products but I think they are very expensive. In many cases the only difference between the pesticides I use and those used on organic farms is that my pesticides are synthetic versions of “natural” pesticides used by organic farmers. The cost per unit of production (cost per bushel, etc.) is higher for organic. That’s why it costs more. We all seek good soil health. Your version of how things should work is not reality in my 30 years plus of experience. Fine idea but nature usually provides many obstacles to making agriculture successful year in and out regardless of method of production. Pesticides help stabilize production and according to many scientists there is no difference between organic and conventional production as far as safety goes. If organic was far more profitable than conventional production, we’d all be doing it. Maybe one day human ingenuity will find a way to make it work. I only see that happening if GMO production is approved for organic certification. You food elitists wouldn’t go for that though.

      5. Organic food is generally more expensive to produce. Picking weeds and doing multiple sprayings take a lot of labor. No one wants to work for free. Unlike synthetic pesticides organic pesticides must be used multiple times and are not as effective as synthetic pesticides. Yield and uniformity are generally less than conventionally grown crops. What this means is that grocers sell a smaller portion of the amount they purchase. Customers pick out the bigger and better looking specimens and want a discount on the “less pretty” specimens. Many of the organic products get tossed because consumers don’t want to buy “ugly” fruit and vegetables. The myth that organic is healthier or better for the environment simply isn’t true.

    2. Hi Kelly Lee Brosky! You bring up a truly valid point. I too have been on a fixed (and very low) income for the last 5 years after I surviving a near fatal cancer in 2010. I seriously “coded” my first hour of my first “round” (of 8 total rounds) of R-CHOP chemotherapy protocol. Now, my (still partially) disabled body struggles to overcome serious damage. And thanks to Vani and others like her, I have gleaned valuable information that has made some significant improvement that just “eating right” didn’t accomplish in the first couple of years of my remission. But I digress! About the budget. It has taken A LOT of research (and still does on many days) to find the best deals on buying everything totally organic along with grass-fed/pasture-raised meats. Vani and other sources have helped with some valid “tips” on how to eat organic on a budget though. And I have found the info very helpful. Google “Food Babe Eating Organic on a Budget”. Or even Google just simply this text: “Eating Organic on a Budget”. It has helped me find coupons and deals many times now. Thrive Market (online) is another tool. Find local farms near you that practice organic/grass-fed is another great source. So check out “Eat Wild” online too. Hope some of this helps… and if anyone reading this has other ideas for getting organic eating down to conventional pricing… PLEASE ADD TO THIS COMMENT… Kelly Lee Brosky, I myself… and I am certain that MANY OTHERS would be ever so thankful to you! :-))

      1. I also find Amazon useful. I have Prime, and I can get all kinds of goods and foods from their at a good price. My 4 year old daughter has leukemia (in remission but still in treatment). We sometimes need quick snacks and are able to find Annie’s organics on there etc.

      2. Aldi’s has started selling many more organic items since the start of the year & very reasonable also. Examples… O-Spinach $2.49-5 oz. O-Pasta $1.99-1 LB, O-apples $4.99-3 lb. O-apple juice $2.49 64 oz, O-strawberries (frz) $2.99-12oz and lots more.
        I always go to Aldi’s first when I do my organic shopping.

      3. Debbie: Eating organic doesn’t necessarily mean you are eating healthier. Organic food isn’t necessarily safe or good and conventionally grown food isn’t necessarily bad or dangerous. It is a shame so many people spend so much extra money on their food because they perceive that organic is safer or healthier. Certified Organic is a marketing program. It has nothing to do with food safety or nutrition. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people and companies that work in the conventional supply chain who want to provide quality and nutritious food to the public. Likewise, there are lot of people and companies in the organic and health food industry that don’t give a damn about your health but are willing to sell you a story to make a buck.

      4. Dear Seriously?: I sense from the name you used for your comment that you have reasons to be anonymous. Based on the context of your reply, I can’t help but believe that you have an agenda as well. If I am mistaken, then perhaps you’re being “sold a story” of mis-information? Regardless, let’s be clear about one thing. Conventional farmers need to use pesticides in the form of synthetic, man-made chemicals (as opposed to natural chemicals provided by Mother Nature… just to be clear that I understand that the term “chemical” itself does not mean it’s bad for you… I mean even water is a “chemical”, right?)… to yield enough abundance in crops so that they can make a profit at the end of the year. However, those pesticides are deadly poisons and toxic for human consumption. If given a choice, who would choose to ingest those foods instead of food grown without their use? I agree that it’s a shame that the organic certification process causes extreme expense on organic farmers… which someone (us consumers) have to absorb at the point of sale. A damn shame at that! Nevertheless, those of us who see that the cost is a necessary trade off when attempting to reduce our risk of dis-ease from exposing our bodies to harmful and UN-necessary toxins. Until such time as our current food industry practices change to reduce our exposure to these man-made pesticides, I choose to give my dollars to local, organic and sustainable minded farmers NOW… than to medical doctors and Big Pharma LATER. As a side note… are you aware that a recent poll of oncologists in America showed that 86% of them would NEVER take or give their loved ones the same chemotherapy treatments they give cancer patients today if they faced a cancer diagnosis? Talk about “being sold a story to make a buck”! Lastly, my research on eating organic on a budget is proving very fruitful (pun intended!)… thanks to a lot of research, I have found ways to significantly lower my grocery bill to be as inexpensive as conventional, if not lower on some days. Just so you know.

      5. Debbie: Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Yes, synthetic chemicals are used to produce food so it can be sold at a profit. I don’t expect anyone to work for free. The risk of disease from the minute amount of pesticide or herbicide is extremely small to nonexistent. Toxic pesticides and herbicides are used on organically grown food as well. Organic food is not safer than conventionally grown food. It kills me to see rotting fields of strawberries after it rains because the farmer couldn’t use a synthetic fungicide. It then adds insult to injury to go into the store the next day and listen to someone complain that the store ran out of organic strawberries because of incompetence of the produce manager. If you like buying organic and you can do it on a budget that is great. I’m all for it. But do because you like to, not because you think that conventionally grown food is somehow inferior.

    3. The most important thing you do not talk about is going VEGAN for this would solve many, many problem. It has been almost 30 years that I made the change choice and I WOULD NOT RETURN TO THE SAD DIET (standard American diet).
      To me you are only doing half work.

      1. Hi Sophie… was your reply directed to Kelly Lee Brosky or myself?

      2. Humble self would convo butt here to proudly declare that he has been veg’n since Watergate, and sick a moment since.
        Actually totally vegan now, but who’s counting.
        Not being judgmental, just hoping to encourage any fence-sitters.

      3. To Sophie Franke: “half work”??? Thank God that Vani is devoting her life to this. We all need to thank her for the tremendous amount of work she is doing! Frankly it’s incredible what Vani has already accomplished. Keep up the great work and THANK YOU!

      4. Sophie Franke: It is terrific that you are able to live a vegan lifestyle. It seems to be working out for you but I prefer to keep my options open. Going completely vegan would prevent many problems but would create many problems too. I can not digest cellulose. Cows can. In fact they can turn the cellulose into high quality protein that isn’t readily available to me in other forms. Eating enough fruits and vegetables to meet my protein needs would be very difficult. I really treasure having a high quality source of protein available at reasonable cost.

    4. Got this from the Food Revolution Summit — John and Ocean Robbins: Instead of organic producers having to pay extra to certify their produce is really organic, charge the non-organic food producers to certify that their food is safe to eat with all its chemicals, pesticides, and additives. This would reduce the cost of healthy food and raise the cost of unhealthy food. What do you all think?

      1. Marilyn: farmers do not need to pay extra to produce foods organically. The cost is for being able to participate in the marketing program and use the official organic label. Food can not be proven safe. This is true for organic and conventionally grown. The organic label doesn’t imply that the food is safer or more nutritious than non organic food.

    5. Trader Joe’s has a good line of organic produce at pretty reasonable prices. Also Meijer’s. The more we ask grocers for organics, the better pricing will be available, along with choices. Look at how far Vani has taken this movement. Thank you so much. There’s hope!

      1. I totally agree Eileen… The nicest organic cucumbers I’ve ever seen are at Trader Joe’s very cheap!!! The high cost of eating well is a myth. My grocery bill has been greatly reduced since I stopped buying processed food.

      2. Thanks Eileen. I hope Kelly Lee Brosky is getting some of these replies to her comments! I have never yet patronized a Trader Joe’s even though I live fairly close to one. Out of habit, I go to Sprouts, Whole Foods and the organic section of a local grocery chain here in Texas called HEB. I have also found several of my pantry staples (totally organic) at Walmart believe it or not! Also, I have found that different HEB stores carry different items. Again, this takes organization on my part and making a list specifically for each store. I would love to eventually see that I can find most of my desired items at one location though, lol! In the meantime, it’s worth the effort as my body and now correlating blood work shows such AMAZING improvements as I continue this incredible journey to recover my life post cancer!

      3. Debbie, I love your comments and your reply to whats-his-name, obviously from the food or chemical industry. Nicely done!
        This is a whole other conversation, but Walmart? Ugh!

  7. I love Tex-Mex food. Other than Chipotle is there a nation-wide chain of sit-down Mexican restaurants that serves wholesome, relatively unadulterated food?

  8. I would really like to see restaurants like Red Lobster and Joe’s Crab Shack serve organic, wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon rather than farmed Salmon.

    1. Bob Holzclaw-

      Although I stick with wild salmon, maybe it is best for us, and for wild salmon, that we encourage the unenlightened to eat farmed salmon.


    1. I was told by Panda Express workers that NONE of their food is vegetarian – not even the white rice or stir-fry vegetables! So I stopped eating there long ago.

      1. Right on. Ate at Panda Express one time a long time ago and it made me sick. Total Crap. If I want Chinese, I fix my own. Chinese is not healthy when the food is produced at these places that load it up with MSG and other artificial ingredients.

  9. Thanks Vani, for a job well done on getting
    Panera to make significant changes. Let’s
    hope they go further.
    Peter and I love your book.

  10. Vani check out Crazy Bowls and Wraps! There’s a fast food restaurant in the St. Louis metro area called Crazy Bowls and Wraps. They offer hormone free chicken, grass fed steak, wild salmon, organic tofu, a variety of organic kale, quinoa, teas, etc. And guess what?! Their prices are no different than going to Panera Bread. Just the other day a coworker & I were going to eat at Panera until I looked up their ingredients online & about had a heart attack just reading all the chemicals in options that I thought were “healthy”. We ended up at Crazy Bowls & Wraps and my friend loved it! This is proof that restaurants can offer healthy, chemical free food at affordable prices. So happy to hear Panera Bread or as we call it here in the midwest St. Louis Bread Company, is going to improve their ingredients. It’s teacher appreciation week so THANK YOU Food Babe & Food Babe Army for “educating” us about the harmful chemicals in the foods we eat! All your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated!

    1. Crazy Bowls sounds like a great place. I would highly doubt that they offer hormone free chicken. All chickens have hormones. Maybe the ones that Crazy Bowls uses don’t have any added hormones but they are not hormone free. To say that Crazy Bowls offers chemical free foods is a bit misleading too. All foods are made up of chemicals.

  11. I applaud the work you are doing !!! Perhaps starting out right as an infant and toddler might be your next challenge? Im about to become a grandmother and I haven’t had any reason to investigate baby foods or formula’s or toddler snacks until now. I am happy to offer any help with this , if you feel this is a worthy cause?
    I am SO GRATEFUL for all your hard work and I read your last book from cover to cover!!!
    Thank you,

  12. Good job!!! More companies need to follow suit to keep up with consumer demand.

  13. I am not privy to many of these but why Astaxanthin? Why is that on the list, that is a good thing that you want more of…

  14. Vani, you are a true hero in every sense of the word. Kudos to you and this amazing army you’ve raised! I would like to ask you a question in hopes that a member of your staff or perhaps another comrade in this army might be able to answer. Since I share almost every bit of news about your investigations, petitions and victories… I seem to get trolls… and I mean total strangers to me… posting comments on my “shares” that are very ugly. I don’t mind btw… I simply ignore them. However, a couple of times I wished I had a rebuttal on a particular statement they make to which I don’t have the documented info to back me up. Here’s hoping you can help: Where can I find the “Scientific Data” where credible scientists (who are named) and their posted statements about the fact that these additives are dangerous? The “trolls” keep repeating that we activists are “ignorant fools” who are a “public health menace” because we share this very disturbing information that is “not backed by science”. I believe in what we are doing… but I sure would like to have access to the credible science to throw in their faces once in a while, lol! Many thanks and my undying support to you Vani!

    1. If you look at the appendix of “The Food Babe Way,” there are pages of citations upon which the information stands. Eminent physicians and researchers from leading univerities and institutes, published in prestigious journals, with non- profit consumer protection organizations as a backup. That’s where I looked first when considering purchasing the book, and that’s why I did.

      1. Thank you for your kind reply Elizabeth! I pulled out my copy again and read through the appendix topics starting on page 339 through page 345 but still can’t pinpoint anything leading me to clinical research written by scientists themselves. Do you mind continuing your generous help by appeasing my “chemo-brain”? It’s a serious issue many days and I think this is one of them, so sorry. 🙁 I need you to be a bit more specific for me to find what I am looking for with this search. Many thanks. <3

    2. Debbie, yes the industrial food paradigm has several inherent characteristics that strongly bias research money to be spent mostly on industry supportive research outcomes (i.e. that show no problems that would demonstrate need for them to stop doing anything that they are making good money by doing). When some research line of questioning threatens to show a potential problem, that line of questioning often gets reduced (or cut off) from funding, and reassignment to some area of more supportive research. Many times, regulatory agencies are not made aware of politic/industry unsupportive research that is done internally, but only given the research that tends to demonstrate no problem. Chemical companies are set up to SELL their products for the maximum ‘profit’, if they can convince a food processer/producer to buy more types of chemicals (even totally unnecessary ones) they are making more ‘profit’ for their stockholder and for their ‘golden parachutes’. This causes many food additives to be used with very questionable need… they are great salespersons, and often do not intend to cause lessened public health and wellbeing, yet ignorance of chemistry, biochemistry, and toxicology allows them to push for food additives that are not needed and often are outright harmful in subtle biochemical ways. There are many other biases opperating as well, to complicate and harm processed foods, and the regulatory agencies have revolving door administrations with CEOs and other managers of industry as leaders for a time, who then rotate back into industry to be replaced by other similar industry biased leaders… it is no wonder that these agencies are not adequately safeguarding our food essential quality to the degree necessary.

      1. Ray– So, in other words, there is no credible scientific peer-reviewed evidence that you can give to Debbie.

      2. Thank you for your reply Ray. I totally understand this and agree with you! However, I am still left empty here without my desired information. Surely you and others like (us) can gain access to credible scientific and peer-reviewed data to back up what we are trying to share with our loved ones? Rather than blindly repeating dialogue just because we “believe” it? Again, many thanks to you and anyone else who wishes to comment and help me in this endeavor!

      3. Check out EWG. They rate cosmetics, cleaning products and most recently, food.

    3. PubMed is a good place to start lit searching for resrearch papers that can clarify more about individual chemical additives to foods. Through this source, we can find out what questions are being asked by thousands of researchers, and we can see the results of what research has been done… that is a good start toward educating ourselves. Of course, the main problem is that nobody knows how to answer most of the questions we ask, because the research has not been done yet. Science is an accumulative process, and much of the danger from potential (and actual current) adverse effects have only begun to be asked. If questions are likely to find problems for industry, funding for such research often dries up. For just one example: Industry had to go to EPA recently to up the allowable glyphosate content in food crops because of increased amounts showing up with current pesticide applications to food crops. The industry had long held that since glyphosate kills plants by attacking the shikamate pathway, and human cells do not utilize the shikamate pathway, there is very minimal toxicity possible to humans. However, it has been pointed out that our gut beneficial bacterial assemblage, that is essential to our nutrition, DOES depend on the shikamate pathway within the bacteria. Is this a legitimate question to ask comprehensive research to clarify? Can glyphosate food residue levels reaching the gut still affect hese bacteria adversely, and thus constitute a food additive that is doing hidden harm by altering nutritional competence… or not? Did industry do due dilligence in researching this question enough before requesting EPA to up the allowable level?

  15. I would love for you to check out Sweet Tomatoes. It’s my favorite restaurant to use when I eat out, which is not very often. I always ordered sweet tea as a special treat for myself.

    The last time I was there, I happened to think to ask them what their tea was sweetened with and they said “High Fructose Corn Syrup.” What a let down! Needless to say, I don’t drink tea there anymore so they are losing a cheap way to get extra money, even if they sweetened it with sugar.

    I did talk to them about it and have every time I’ve come in there. Please see if you can get them to change that for us.

  16. Canola oil and soybean oil are the worst..GMO, toxic with high levels of Glyphosate, sure they removed a list of things but left these worst offenders in there, and by the way how many ingredients are in panera bread? and are they going to put the iodine back in..they still have a long ways to go. Still highly toxic factory food in my book, not ready to sit at your table!

    1. Jay-

      Good point. I bought some mayonnaise that was made in Japan and it contained canola oil. I thought they were resisting GMO but I guess not.

      I thought that Northern Europe was resisting GMO and glyphosate. I was watching a video feed from Britain last week and it had a commercial for Roundup in a clever dispenser (like deodorant cream) for application directly to individual dandelion plants.


      1. Roundup is one of the safest herbicides on the market today. It is registered as a general use pesticide. You folks can demonize it all you want but the truth is that glyphosate is not nearly the toxin you believe it to be. And no, I don’t get paid by Monsanto to say this.

      2. hall-

        I have read enough that I do not want it on my food. I do not mind if you want it on your food. I just want to have a choice.


      3. Jim, I’d like to have a choice as well. This thread is about the food babe taking credit for the removal of a lot of additives to bread by a company. I wonder what removing those additives will do for me? My thought is that the bread will not last nearly as long with no real health benefit. I will spend more for bread because I’ll have to buy it more often when I shouldn’t have to do that. Many food additives are a result of food companies responding to the wishes of consumers, not because they want to make more money. The fact is that a bread company would make more by selling more. If a loaf of bread lasts only a day or two without the additives but a week to ten days with the additives, which option would a greedy food company take? I think they would like to sell more bread so they’d take option one. My own personal preference is that I want a loaf of bread to last longer, i.e. I like my bread the way it is now. I don’t want an unqualified person making choices for me and that’s what this woman is doing. Leave my food alone. Leave my food choices up to me. Quit trying to change to food system just because it’s her unqualified belief that there is something wrong with it. Nobody elected her to be captain of the food police and regardless of what you believe that is the role she is assuming.

      4. Hall-

        I do not know if she is taking credit for this Panera decision as much as celebrating it.

        I would, however, give her full credit for Subway’s decision.

        Unqualified belief? I have read studies and sometimes review actual data and sort it out myself and find that you can get studies that entirely contradict each other. I have found studies wherein if I look at the raw data I will come to a different conclusion from the researchers or come to the same conclusion. Most people who subscribe to dogma accuse anybody who disagrees with them as “unqualified”.

        Captain of the food police? I agree with about 60% of what she says, which is a very high percentage of agreement with anybody for me. By the way, who do you recognize as the captain of your food police?.

        By the way, there are a few things on the Panera list that I disagree with – I either buy them or make them myself – but I am unabashedly impressed by their effort and the resultant list. I also am in about 80% agreement with the discussion of things that need to be done under “What will still be in Panera’s food that I’m concerned about?”.


      5. hall-

        Typo correction:

        ” I agree with about 80% of what she says, which is a very high percentage of agreement with anybody for me.”


  17. When I saw the news report this morning I was almost laughing out loud that they were not giving you credit for this. I am sure it is because of you but at the same time I understand you do not do this work for credit. I also understand that you are targeted because of the work and it may be best that they do not always say your name in the news. I just want you to know that WE know and appreciate you more that you will ever know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Many members of my family eat there so I appreciate any improvements and do pray for continued improvements.

  18. Lead on. But be careful that Panera and others doing some of the same don’t use it for a smoke screen to either continue using other useless/bad stuff or worse yet start adding back what is now being removed.

  19. I would love to know more about The Outback Steakhouse and the foods they serve. Especially the salmon and vegetables, potatoes, etc.

    1. You can guarantee that Salmon from Outback is farm raised full of pcb’s and dioxins. Always purchase wild Alaskan Salmon. Potatoes are highly pesticided to death. If you can, buy organic.

  20. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! You are the best I have your book and follow you on fb. You are one of the few who have actually made a difference in the world!

  21. This is great news!!! I used to love Panera but more often as I ate there, I could tell the quality of the food was not great. I even contacted them, but received a standard corporate answer so I stopped eating there over a year ago. Now I have something to look forward to thanks to the power of the Food Babe!! Much appreciation for all that you do!

  22. It seems like Panera removed the chicken from their Chicken flatbread sandwich.
    By their own admission they have only 1 ounce of chicken in this falsely described sandwich.

  23. Congratulations Vani. I have been following you for awhile. I have often wondered how you go on when I see such vicious attacks directed at you through social media. I know the sources behind it all but I am sure it can get discouraging sometimes. YOU have made a positive difference!

  24. Thank you so much for what you do..I am eating much more healthy since I’ve read some of your posts, I’m spreading the word also with all my family and friends that will listen.

  25. Thanks so much Vani!!!! Your hard work is paying off. My daughter wants to go to Panera Bread, and now I can let her know it will be in her future…in a limited way. And I can’t believe there hasn’t been a hater post yet!

  26. That is great! Id love to see Bob Evans offer organic meal options.
    Also Taco Bell. And it would be great if kroger offered some of its simple truth organics in its deli so i could grab a snack there. Just today a neighbor wanted to treat two of us to subway. There i sat eating an organic apple from home, while my friends ate a delish meal. All I could do was enjoy the aroma. Unless I have to eat for my blood sugar…..i dont buy unless its organic. When i eat non organic I want to gag myself to get rid of it. But I dont. It worries me what might be happening inside my body. We shouldnt have to worry about this. Your good work opens up more options. Thanks for all you do.

  27. I’ve been at Panera for 7 years now and this talk was happening way before the investigations began in 2012

  28. I am proud to part of the Food Babe Army! Panera Bread is just a start on fast foods rethinking what the AMERICAN PUBLIC really wants! PS..get rid of the soda!!! If it is not available people will buy what is like WATER!!

  29. Congrats, and great news. Reminds me of a conversation I was having with dinnertime recently where they said, “well bread is a foam first and foremost, do why are you complaining about things that help it keep that foam like structure?”. I replied, ” no bread is first and foremost a food. It only need flour water and year. You can add sugars to speed up the yeast or oil/butter for certain types of bread – and that’s all you need. If you are putting ingredients into food that aren’t added for better nutrition or health reasons, then you have completely missed the point.” Thanks to you, I’ve been able to send people like him here to read more and realize you don’t need to be a food scientist to understand that many ingredients are added to food that have no positive benefit, but have been suspected or proven to have a negative response – and may even be banned in other countries for that negative response but not here. Keep it up Vani

    1. Mel: Additives are used to preserve bread. If you have the option of fresh baked bread that is great. If you only afford to buy a loaf and have to make it last a month than having something that doesn’t start to decay or spoil becomes important. There are many people in the world who have to make a choice between eating food that has had some sort processing to preserve it or going without food entirely. Please consider that many people around the world can’t access or purchase fresh food. I would rather give a child a piece of bread made with additives than a piece of moldy bread.

  30. We all have to try to fight this battle for healthier food, for our grandchildren and their children, with just the educations and commonsense we have available… but it is essential work. We cannot shrink from doing it because the industry claims the high ground of ‘science’ and scoffs at anyone other than themselves as being unqualified and ‘not scientists’. Scientific Method has provisions to keep the quality of research high if it is completely followed as an ongoing process of improvement. Most industry-based science is basically good science, and done by very well intentioned and educated people that want their grandchildren to have good food and enough food as well, however their are more problems inherent within the food industry paradigm that are counter-productive to getting the best quality science out of the system in spite of the good intentions of most of the researchers involved. Money is a powerful corrupter of this intent, and it strongly tends to bias the research outcomes. The scientific method has an essential component that is required by intellectual integrity that the usual industry science shortchanges. This is the requirement that as much effort used to demonstrate a hypothesis (or product) right must be used to try to gather evidence that could show that the hypothesis or product is wrong (or counter-productive to public health, wellbeing, etc.). This aspect of the industrial science does not get adequate funding and intellectual support by the corporations and funders that control the system…. therefore the ‘science’ they often belive is the best possible (and sware by) is still deficient uncompleted scientific process… the trolls feed on this too… without thinking it through with real science.

  31. Thank you for organizing our frustration with toxic food and our desire for healthy, pure food!

    Are there any resources you can rally to do an independent audit on Trader Joe’s claim that their label/brand is all non-GMO? (no GMO seed and that the animals (flesh and dairy) don’t eat GMOs)

    That would be a huge help.

    Thank you!


  32. I am so thrilled Panera is making these changes! I pretty much avoid eating out since I started reading Michael Pollan, watching documentaries about food processing and of course, hearing about Vani’s work. Praying for continued success and open minds from the restaurants and companies she works with!

  33. Vani:

    You have changed my world and because of you I feel so much better!! You are my hero and please keep up all you do for mankind!!
    Respectfully yours,

  34. wow.. what an awesome job!!!! my kids love love love to eat there.. and i am a label reader even more now since ive met you! But i had no idea all of those awful ingredients where in Panera’s food. didnt dawn on me to look them up…
    Thanks for your commitment and never backing down. .Thank you for making changes one change at a time with these huge companies.
    Keep up the good work! by the way.. i wear my tshirt often and people often ask about … show me the ingredients!!

  35. Hi Vani,
    This is wonderful news! I sure hope other restaurants follow suit. I discovered your website accidentally not too long ago and boy I am so glad I did. You are such an amazing woman to be doing what you’re doing. Thank you for all the information you extend to your readers and all your hard work obtaining it. I am so appreciative. I’ve learned so much.
    Thank you 🙂

  36. Hi Vani,
    Thank you so much for all you do in exposing the hidden dangers in our food today in the market place. Keep doing what your doing daily and you can count my support!


  37. I always loved Panera’s soup. They would ladle it with metal spoons from metal pots just like home. My usual order was soup and half a sandwich until one day i saw them get a “fresh” batch of soup. The guy carried this giant plastic bag of soup from the back and “cooked” it in a giant microwave! It then was dumped into the metal pot to be served. I have never been back since. Is anyone aware of this? Can something be done about it? I for one NEVER use a microwave oven much less cook in plastic. Ewww!!!!!
    (Hope Chipotle moves to my area soon!)

  38. You might say we eliminated most diseases but the medical community found another way to keep their business up. FOOD ADDITIVES!

    If can’t get ’em kill with disease anymore, make ‘me sick with food additives! It’s the least we could do.

  39. I’m curious. How come gluten isn’t mentioned on their list? Some bread companies actually add extra gluten. They call it “Essential Gluten”. Yes, I understand that gluten is in many grains and is naturally occurring. My mother baked with glutenous flours, yet never added more “essential” gluten to her bread and it beat all breads — ever — on the market! Like I said, I’m curious.

  40. I hope companies aren’t lying about what they use and don’t use, and what they remove…it’s a start but I just don’t trust many of them…case in point, Bertoli olive oil…LOVE FOOD BABE, please keep up your wonderful work…

  41. A good start and a decent list. There are a couple of babies being thrown out with the bathwater, though.

    One thing I would like to see is a return to high-gluten flour.


  42. I would love to see Mimi’s checked out since we do eat there quite a bit. Thank you for all your hard work!

  43. OLIVE GARDEN and RED LOBSTER, plus all pizza joints need to offer gluten free. Also Dunkin Donuts needs to clean up their act.

  44. Vani,Thanks for all you do, have done and continue to do! Have you ever seen the ingredients on a box of Girl Scout Cookies? Unbelievable! The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps to develop skills but does nothing to foster healthy eating! The manufacturer is Little Brownie Bakers. I hope you can enlighten this company before the next cookie drive please.

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