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May 6, 2015
Panera's Woes in Doing Additives Good
Lo the poor consumer, who wants to do the right thing, or go to the right places, when eating out. Is Panera Bread one of those places? You would think so, but now Panera is being accused of a “PR stunt” in issuing a list of more than 150 artificial ingredients it will omit from its food by the end of next year.

Jason Best writes in a Fee Range post on TakePart that “Panera’s list is padded with more than 30 artificial ingredients, such as the scary-sounding acesulfame K and ammonium chloride, that the chain admits its food doesn’t contain.”

Best goes on to quote Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, as saying: “Just because something is artificial or its name is hard to pronounce doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. 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.”

The lesson: If you’re trying to do good, do carefully targeted and stated good, so that you can’t be charged with gilding your image overmuch.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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