Panera Bread, we have something to say to you.


August 1, 2013 by dairycarrie


To my followers and readers,

I’ve teamed up with the Animal Agriculture Alliance to send a follow-up letter to Panera Bread Company, solidifying our position about their anti-antibiotics campaign. The letter will include our specific grievances with the advertisements and will attempt to set up a meeting where myself and other industry representatives can begin a conversation with the powers that be at Panera to discuss their current–and future–ad campaigns. While we appreciate the fact that they’ve removed portions of the EZChicken campaign, I think we can all agree there’s still loads of room for improvement. We really want this letter to make a big impact, so I would like to invite you all to join me in support by signing your name to the letter. We would love to get as many of your signatures on it as possible. So please share this with your friends and family. Fill out the survey below, and we’ll transfer your information to the official letter. We will be mailing the letter on Tuesday so the signature period will end Monday 8/5/13 at 11pm cst. Let’s continue to speak up loudly and proudly to correct misinformation and defend ag!

Thank you all for your support.



(You will not see your information posted after you submit your name and information. We will not use your information in any way beyond adding it to the letter.)

P.S. Dr. Scott Hurd wrote a fantastic post about this subject that I want to share with all of you. Click HERE to read.

84 thoughts on “Panera Bread, we have something to say to you.

  1. Tari Costello says:

    Panera Bread you need to eliminate your anti-farmer advertising, which inflicts fear for the consumer!

    • Gary says:

      Maybe you should protest Purdue Chicken who provides the chicken for Panera Bread and all the farmers who raise the chickens for Purdue, But that would be biting the hands of the Purdues of this world who market the chickens for the farmer. Maybe it would taste like chicken.

      • dairycarrie says:

        Perdue isn’t the company that designed this marketing campaign. Which I’ll remind you again, is what my posts have been about.

      • Gary says:

        Just remember about unintended consequences. When you attack Panera Bread you in a round about way are attacking the Chicken farmer who contracts with Perdue who contracts with Panera Bread to supply chicken the way the want it. By the way does antibiotic free mean absolutely no antibiotic residue or that it is below FDA or USDA permissible safe levels?

        • dairycarrie says:

          If I was attacking their chicken product that could be said. I Sam not asking them to stop serving their chicken. I am asking them to change how they are marketing their products. If you Google antibiotic free chicken the link from the NCC explains the labeling requirements for chicken.

      • Gary says:

        professionalfarmer, Antibiotic free, from what I can find on the FDA or USDA, does not mean zero parts per million. All it means is that whatever residue there is it is below what they determine is an acceptable level. Maybe dairycarrie can answer that if she would. I could be wrong. One of my points is that if that is true then I would rather pay more for chicken that has never had an antibiotic than chicken that has. And also if they do not check every single chicken that gets slaughtered then some will get through with higher than acceptable level but we will never know. A lot of cows are caught testing positive and they are only checked randomly so I am assuming that not every single chicken gets tested. I would bet that some randomly checked chickens test positive for unacceptable levels because eeven hard working, honest farmers make mistakes.

        • Kiel says:

          A lot of cows are not being “caught testing positive”. To date, the us residue program has had less than 1% of samples test positive for contamination of any kind. The fact that u share ur uninformed thoughts with others is dangerous. Learn your facts before you flap your jaw

    • Gary says:

      Almost everyone commenting on here have said they were no longer going to eat at Panera Bread. You have not discouraged them from this action even though your blog is a major reason that there is an uproar against Panera Bread. From a quick look at the site you recommended it appears that antibiotic free doesn’t mean no trace but below an acceptable action level or tolerance level. So once again I think I would rather eat at Panera Bread. Are you saying that people should not eat there or is it ok to eat there?

      • professionalfarmer says:

        It is aganist the law to have antibiotics in the animals system at the time of butchering. My pigs have a withdrawl date on them for the antibiotics. Let me give you an example. I gave a shot of wormer to the animal to protect it from getting worms and the rest of the herd. The withdrawl date is 60 days (I don’t know off the top of my head what the real time period is. It tells you on the bottle which I read for instructions. I need a new bottle anyway for next year) so the animal has to wait more than sixty days to be butchered so the medicine can work its way through there system. If you had livestock you would know this and don’t bash the farmer who feeds you.

      • Gary says:

        professionalfarmer, My reply to your post is aboev. by the way, I misspelled that on purpose as an example of how easy it is to make a recording mistake and send an animal to slaughter before it’s withdrawl date. It is against the law to go over the speed limit but try as we might sometimes our foot gets heavy and before we know it we see red and blue lights behind us. I have treated many cows over the years and I know all about labels and I know all about drugs being used for off label purposes. I have had livestock, by the way.

        • Kiel says:

          Just because you are a bad apple, doesn’t mean that the rest of farmers are too. U can eat wherever you want. I would rather you go to panera too, because I don’t want to run into you at a good restaurant

  2. Where is the letter that we are signing our names to?

  3. […] and giving examples on how they can improve as a company. We need your support! Please click here to sign your […]

  4. […] this week and give myself a break. (My Panera Bread post is here – and a follow up from Dairy Carrie is here, plus a spot-on blog post from a veterinarian about Panera’s misleading advertising […]

  5. Hattie Hartschuh says:

    I would like a copy of this petition/letter when it is complete. Who do I need to contact? Thanks!

  6. Joanna says:

    I signed Carrie, but with a tiny bit of reservation. Not for the cause but because 99% of the time I like to see what I sign my name to. Going with a leap of faith here with you Carrie! Enough is enough.

  7. Kristie says:

    Signed! Like Joanna, have a bit of reservation. Having met you, I trust that you and your partners will be writing a respectful letter that not only lists your specific grievances, but also suggestions of what actions or steps Panera Bread can take to alleviate those grievances. Good luck, Carrie!

  8. Sharon says:

    Sorry, but I won’t sign something if I don’t know what it says.

  9. Jay says:

    Filled out and entered the survey; hell, this time I actually used non-junk accounts. Was honest, too. I admit, I still giggle a little bit about South Park’s interpretation of bluefin overfishing – “F*** YOU COW, AND *F*** YOU SHIIICKEN!”

    Farmers deserve a lot more respect. Most don’t have the time or money to do much more than keep the bills paid – whanging on aminals (deliberate mis-spelling) is worse than being broke.

    More notably, tho – f*** Panera. Place gave me an ooky feeling when I went in there for a quick, $6 sammich. I drank my breakfast in the form of coffee and pointing like Hunter Thompson on a drugged up bent.

    They sucked well before they opted to offend farmers and dairy folk…dunno if that is adequate, but you can get a sammich press off Ebay for like $12.

  10. Lanna Niemann says:

    As a farmers daughter, farmers wife, farmers daghter in law, farmers sister in law, and a farmers myself, I am appauled at the scare tactics that panera bread is using. We need to get the REAL facts out there!

    • Gary says:

      The REAL facts might make you consider how to improve your farming methods if you dare to really look at them honestly.

      • dairycarrie says:

        Says the man who knows nothing about my farming practices. Gary, I think it’s time you move along.

      • Gary says:

        That was a reply to Lanna Niemann not you, If you look at one of my previous posts I wrote nicely about you. My last post was probably not called for and I apologize to Lanna. But it was not aimed at you. Sorry if you thought it was.

  11. Adam says:

    Hey, I appreciate what you are doing, and I support your efforts. However, before I can sign the letter to Panera, I’d have to read it first. Is it posted anywhere?

  12. James Loomis says:

    Antibiotics are used to heal animals from sickness or injury just as they are used for people. No meat, milk or other product can be sold until all antibiotics are out of their system. All food is tested to ensure this, it is cruel to not treat animals if they are sick, it cost money and takes lots of time so where do they get laziness from that. Promote products for tasting good and being prepared good, don’t use negative advertising to put others down. I love Panera Bread but I will take a break from their place because of this ad.

    • Gary says:

      The problem is not about treating animals that are actually sick or injured. It is about using antibiotics as a precaution against them possibly getting sick when they are not actually sick. Panera Bread is not against treating animals that are actually sick or injured and do not believe that they should not be taken care of. The unintended consequence of not eating at Paneras is it will hurt the farmers that provide the chickens for them.

      • Rebecca says:

        I’m not sure where you get the idea that anybody wants Panera to stop serving chicken. Nobody wants that. What we want is Panera to discontinue their marketing campaign that suggest farmers who do use antibiotics are lazy. Why can’t you see that?

        Not eating at Panera while they continue to support a poorly-thought-out marketing campaign will not make Panera stop serving chicken. Their supplier’s supplier will be fine. Even if Panera sales plummeted, it’s be many months before their supplier’s supplier felt any ramifications and at that point they could easily market their poultry to any body else who sells chicken. I’m not too familiar with poultry markets, but I do know that a small time cow-calf operation would never feel the effects of one slaughterhouse having decreased demand for their product. It’d have to be a global market downturn for them to feel an effect. Panera’s suppliers will be fine.

        I work in healthcare, and if I had a penny for every time that someone took antibiotics as a preventative guard against illness, I could retire. Antibiotics are a very useful tool for preventing illness. While it’s true that sub-therapeutic doses can lead to resistant bacteria, I will inform you that thousands of Americans take the same drugs given to chickens (tetracyclines) in sub-therapeutic doses for seemingly benign conditions like acne or UTIs. If you really want to get worked up about antibiotics “harming” people, you could start in healthcare.

        Antibiotics are also expensive. You can’t even BUY tetra at a pharmacy and doxy (another tetracycline) is over 200 dollars for 60 100mg tablets. If farmers didn’t think it was best for their animals and their production they wouldn’t be forking over the (insanely large amount of) money to give their animals antibiotics.

        I think you need to research your cause some more, Gary. Or research ours. Because you don’t seem to understand either very well.

        • Sara says:

          I think you’re right. You all keep fighting the good fight against cartoon chickens and the big meanies who called us lazy. Gary and I can worry about silly stuff like sustainable farming and whatnot.

      • Jo Windmann says:

        Banning antibiotics also has unintended consequences. Denmark’s ban on sub-therapeutic antibiotics is starting to bite them in their hams … literally. Since the ban, diarrhea in pigs and mortality rates have increased by 20%. Worse yet, antibiotic use in Denmark has consequently increased by 110% but the number of animals has only increased by 5%! Antibiotic resistance hasn’t reduced either. I believe that antibiotics should be treated with great care and not overused or misused; however–raising both “commercial” and antibiotic-free pigs–I’ve seen the wonderful difference antibiotics and vaccines can make. This link has some good info on the Denmark situation and further links to even more research and information.

      • Gary says:

        Rebecca, It never entered my mind that anyone wanted them to stop serving chicken, but I did read many comments about not eating there again. I would rather eat their chicken that never ever received any antibiotics because they were healthy than other food establishments whose chicken had, whether because they were sick or as a preventative measure. If someone put a sandwich of each in front of you to eat which one would you choose? Panera Bread for me!! I think many consumers would make the same choice.

      • Gary says:

        Jo Windmann, I am not against antibiotics, just their overuse and abuse. But I would still rather eat meat from an animal that was healthy its whole life and had never received antibiotics. Antibiotic free does not mean 0% residue. Just below a tolerable level established by the FDA is considered ok and called antibiotic free. That is deceptive!! People who eat chicken from ranches that use antibiotics should understand this.

      • Rebecca says:

        I too am concerned with sustainable farming. That topic is just not appropriate for this thread, that’s all I’m saying.

        And to Gary- the people saying they won’t eat there aren’t saying they’ll NEVER eat there again, I am sure if Panera apologized and changed their marketing campaign there would be few hard feelings toward their business. If you would rather eat their chicken and support their marketing tactics, that’s your decision. I like their food too, but won’t eat there SO LONG AS they have this marketing campaign. I don’t think ANY farmer deserves to be called lazy. If they change it, sure I’ll eat there again. Not sure why that makes me some meanie for not being concerned about the little guy down the line… they’ll be FINE.

      • Gary says:

        Rebecca, You did not answer the question about which chicken sandwich you would eat. The one that came from a chicken that was healthy from birth to slaughter and never received antibiotics or the chicken that was unhealthy, requiring antibiotics to keep alive. Its a no brainer. Sustainable farming is part of the discussion because how the chickens are raised is part of the reason there are so many health problems with them. Sunshine, bugs and eating grass is what makes for a good healthy chicken that does not need antibiotics. look up Joel Salatin at to see how animals should be raised for food. It does require a lot more labor so maybe the way most chickens are raised in large crowded barns is the lazy way out or maybe just a matter of economics. One thing for sure it is not the proper way to raise our food animals, and the result is that we are less healthy because the meat we eat is less nutritious for us. By the way some of the people who commented clearly said they would never eat at Panera Bread again even if they stopped the advertisement and apologized.

        • dairycarrie says:

          Why do you assume that the chickens Panera uses for their sandwiches are raised outdoors? Why do you assume that the ABF chickens are in fact healthy?

      • Gary says:

        Dairycarrie, actually I assume they are not raised outside, but are in giant overcrowded barns probably like ever one else does. The chickens that are sick are seperated out for treatment and sold under other labels. Unless USDA or FDA inspectors are not doing their visual and random testing of the chickens destined for Panera Bread at the USDA inspected plants, they should be healthy. Are you assuming the inspectors are not doing their jobs???

        • dairycarrie says:

          You like to point out Polyface farms. As soon as Polyface farms or a similar farm can provide the amount of chicken Panera needs then your argument will hold some water.

      • Gary says:

        My point is that there is a better and more responsible way to raise food animals that would be better for the health of the animal and the person who eats the animal. The current system is all about economics by crowding as many animals as you can in as small of a space as you can and keeping it going by the overuse of antibiotics. There has to be a better way and guys like Joel Salatin and his Polyface farms are showing that way. The current system only cares for its profit and not the health of the consumer. I am not against making a profit, just to clarify that before you attack me for that.

      • Gary says:

        The point of your blog is you were offended at Panera Breads advertisement claiming healthier chicken than other food service establishments and antibiotic free claims that you believe are ridiculous since every ones chicken is “antibiotic free.” from the FDA’s definition of antibiotic free it looks like not all “antibiotic free” claims are equal. It looks like Panera Breads claim is more accurate about truly “antibiotic free” than others. Personally I think you owe them an apology, not that you care. There chicken is better. Which chicken would you rather eat. The ones that had been sick and treated with antibiotics or the healthy chicken that had never received antibiotics. That is an easy choice for me.

  13. Katie says:

    Thank you Carrie for all you are doing. I support all ag, but I do not support marketing that uses fear to drive sales. Best wishes and stay strong!

  14. Sara says:

    The best part of the article by Dr. Hurd was the comments from Amy (and Gary.) Finally someone in this whole thing who actually has facts. Imagine that. Sorry dairycarrie. You’re campaigning against dishonesty…I think you know where I’m going with that.
    Spread truth instead of half truths that support your argument and something might actually get accomplished. Otherwise, you come off no better than Panera. I’d love to go along with all this righteous enthusiasm, but it’s unfortunately hollow.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Sara, where exactly have I spread truths or half truths?

      • Gary says:

        dairycarrie, I still can’t get you or anyone else to answer the question about antibiotic free. Does it means nothing detectable, absolutely nothing or does it mean below an acceptable, approved FDA level???

        • dairycarrie says:

          Gary, I have replied to you with a link that explains this more than once. Seriously, you seem to know it all and yet you can’t seam to read.

      • Sara says:

        Read the comments on Dr. Hurd’s post. It has facts in it. Like, more than just the ones that work for your argument. It doesn’t do farmers any favors to cherry pick facts because the facts always come back to bite.
        I think the folks who are challenging you on this are doing it because they *do* want you to do what’s right. It’s not to argue with you, it’s to get all the facts in the picture, for the farmers’ sake and the public. Otherwise, it’s no different than Panera’s ad.

        • dairycarrie says:

          I linked to a blog that helps to explain antibiotic use in animals. Does it answer every question out there? No. If it did it would be a textbook not a blog and no one would read it. You can’t seriously expect every detail to be included in everything. None of this is cut and dry and to expect it to be is ridiculous. If you want to argue the facts that Dr. Hurd has pointed out you are welcome to do that on his blog. AGAIN, my post from the beginning was focused on the marketing campaign that Panera built around their products. That is what I am calling for the stop of. I have never once asked them to stop using the chicken that they are using.

        • Sara says:

          My point was that the facts in the comments (not Dr. Hurd’s post itself) contain facts and the facts don’t support your argument against their ads.

        • dairycarrie says:

          I don’t think you understand my argument against their ads. Using cartoon chickens shaped like pills is not ok. Saying that 80% of antibiotics go into our food is not OK. Having a commercial that states that most other places sell chicken with antibiotics, that is not OK. Inferring that farmers of any kind are lazy is not OK. If they want to market their chicken raised without the use of antibiotics they need to do it without creating fear over other choices.

      • Gary says:

        I am on his blog and he won’t answer the question either. I think you know the truth but you don’t want to answer it because that would open up another hornet nest. You seem to be the one who started this whole campaign against Panera Bread and the debates and arguments are the unintended consequences that naturally follow. If antibiotic free doen’t mean zero levels, then Panera Breads is right that their chicken is better than other food service establishments.

        • dairycarrie says:

          Gary, did you ever think that he might be busy? Not everyone is connected to their computers over the weekend. Coming here to complain about someone else’s blog isn’t very productive. I am not here to debate your viewpoint. And frankly you’re annoying the shit out of me. If you want to debate antibiotic use in animals go do it somewhere else. That’s not what this post is about as I have told you over and over again.

      • Gary says:

        dairycarrie, I did read it and I believe it says that it does not mean zero levels but below acceptable levels. Maybe you didn’t read it or maybe you did but don/t want to give an honest answer on your blog. Just answer the question and quit hiding the truth.

      • Gary says:

        Dr. Hurd is the one who asked me on your blog to post my remarks on his blog. He has not been to busy to reply to other comments. I was not being critical of Dr. Hurd at all. All I am saying is no one wants to put the answer into writing on their blog in plain and simple terms. What is to be afraid of? I am not trying to be an ass I really want to know because it does make a difference to me what is in my food and I am sure to many others.

    • Rebecca says:

      Sara, I think you are confusing two different issues. Standing against Panera’s ad campaign has nothing to do with whether or not you think antibiotics in meat is ok. It has everything to do with the fact that calling farmers who use antibiotics LAZY is NOT ok. That’s it. All there is to it.
      Like Carrie said- if you want to debate antibiotic use in animals, that’s fine- but here isn’t the place. It just makes for a convoluted mess.

  15. Sara says:

    Sorry for saying “facts” so much. Sheesh.
    I *would* read a textbook about something as important as: what I feed my family, antibiotic abuse, farming practices, etc. I’d read several even. Because I actually want to know.

  16. Lori Feltis says:

    I will not eat at Panera Bread ( and neither will any of my family or friends) until they change their ad campaign.
    Farmers are hard working individuals and deserve respect for producing the world’s safest, reliable, and most abundant food supply in the world. They are not lazy for not using antibiotics. They are merely protecting the rest of the herd, flock, or “bunch” of animals from getting sick (as you would your own child if need be)
    Thank a farmer (like Culvers). Do not instill fear in consumers by making them think all other meat contains lethal levels of poisons in their food.

  17. I think I missed the deadline by 8 minutes 🙁

  18. JoDee says:

    I support agriculture but I can’t sign until I see the letter. Too often we in agriculture are put into positions where we’re against an ad campaign. We come dangerously close to being protesters who just yell loudly at anyone that will listen. We don’t offer negotiated solutions where both sides win.

    Therefore, in my opinion, any recommendations in the letter should include what ag is “for” when it comes to Panera. For example, let’s offer to brainstorm about funny/cute farm stuff that will continue to differentiate their food offerings. Or Animal Ag Alliance pays the producer of the original video to produce a new one and for every person that watches it, AAA and Panera give a dollar to local food banks (and farmers promote the campaign on social media). Or let’s provide information about the bump in consumer interest and brand equity when companies positively support ag (Dodge, Culver’s, etc). Let’s start with a thank you to Panera…they got rid of EZchicken and the CMO got involved (those are both wins and more responsive than other chains). Why aren’t we saying thank you and cutting them a little slack?

    If the letter only focuses on what we want Panera to “stop” doing, instead of some things we’ll help them “start” doing, then we’re part of the negative problem, not a positive solution.

    I look forward to reading the letter and cross my fingers that it takes a step forward, not a step backward.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Hi JoDee, I understand fully where you are coming from and why you’re choosing not to sign. I believe the letter is well crafted and addresses our issues with the campaign. We are also asking for a meeting to discuss current and future marketing.

  19. […] next step toward correcting the message is a petition you can find here that she hopes will get her (and some others) more time with Panera’s marketing team to […]

  20. mary c says:

    As a lifelong cattle producer, my animals are carefully cared for. Healthy animals thrive. Untreated illness can linger & cause suffering & even death.
    It’s 24/7 & living where I work, the animals come first, even on holidays !

  21. thesciencecow says:

    I’d like to leave a comment for Gar bear. I’m going to propose a thought. But before you put your sweet little fingers on the keys to undoubtably shoot out a comment that proves to me that your close-mindedness on this issue biases your opinion…

    You prefer eating chicken that never received antibiotics. Is it possible that the animal in question was sick, possibly a chronic type of infection that renders the animal with less energy and gusto, much like us when we are feeling under the weather. So, what you are saying to me is that you would rather eat chicken that was potentially sick without recovery than one that received a dose of antibiotics to cure an infection (Newcastle disease, lets say).

    Ok, I’m excited to read your response. Ready… go!

    • Gary says:

      My wife calls me gar bear as a term of endearment, I am sure you don’t mean it the same way. Are you saying that the USDA inspectors did not notice that they were sick? Maybe they don’t notice when one comes up positive for residue either…your turn! P.S. If you are eating chickens that had been sick and treated with antibiotics that is about 100%. The possibility of the chicken I prefer being sick is far less. Ready, set, go!!

  22. Gary says:

    Glenn Beck and his cohosts were mocking dairy farms and how milk is produced on his show today. Maybe you should write a column going after him for making fun of milk and milk products and how they are produced.

  23. […] just don’t want to be known as a person who is always taking this company or that company to task over something I find […]

  24. Theresa says:

    It’s foolish and ignorant to assume that a chicken never given antibiotics is automatically healthy, just as it is to assume that all chickens given antibiotics never have the antibiotics out of their system. So the inspectors totally miss chickens stillhaving antibiotics, but completely catch every potentially ill chickens? Can’t have that both ways. I’d ten times rather have chicken sandiwchs from a farm that uses antibiotics(both when needed and as a preventive when it makes sense) than a farm that refuses to use antibiotics and possibly has ill chickens even if the sickness is not showing symptoms yet.

    Do you SERIOUSLY think that 90% of people can afford chicken that costs $20 per bird? That’s Ployface’s price for a broiler. $3.65/lb or about $20/bird according to their site. Perhaps you have tons of extra money to feed your face, but a lot of families can’t afford their entire meat budget to get a single bird. So when you keep whining about how “Oh PolyFace does it this way and that way!” you’d better be counting the money involved too. I’m happy that Polyface is making money, but just because some people want to pay ten times the price for chicken doesn’t mean that is “sustainable” for the actual market. Look at “free range eggs” in the stores sometime and notice how few dozen are there compared to regular eggs. If people bought up all those high-priced eggs, the store would stock more.

    I wouldn’t have signed the letter,s imply because I don’t sign anything I can’t read first, but I have not eaten at Panera and if the chicken farmers who supply them have issue with that, perhaps THEY should talk to Panera about how they’ve alienated so many consumers.

  25. […] calling out their “antibiotic free chicken” marketing campaign and the ensuing outcry from farmers across the country and before my plane took off I would get an email saying that they were just […]

What do you think?

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email and I will send you a link whenever I post something new!

Join 1,871 other subscribers

Are you a woman in the dairy industry? Join the Dairy Girl Network! Click Here!
%d bloggers like this: