PANERA - THE MOST RECENT 'HEALTH HALO' PROFITEER
Recently, Panera (or St. Louis Bread Company), released a statement that by 2020 it will have transitioned all of its nearly 2,000 locations to cage-free eggs, and that it has been and will continue to fight against antibiotics in its animals. Panera also released that it would begin encouraging Americans to choose a diet with less or no animal products, utilizing like so many other companies the “health halo” advertising technique to trick consumers into buying their product because of the faulty belief that it is healthier than other options.
They ignore, however, the proven negative consequences of such plans and in turn put their customers at greater risk, lower the quality of life for the animals they obtain products from, and disregard the negative health factors of a plant-based diet.
The Fight Against Cages
With all of its locations accounted for, Panera used about 120 million eggs per year. It also uses large amounts of beef, pork, and chicken.
Following in the footsteps of other large chain restaurants like Chipotle, McDonalds, and Starbucks, Panera has identified what we call the “Health Halo” as a way to increase sales in the coming years.
The idea is that people will buy what they think is healthy for them, which makes sense. So, the companies have identified several myths that are spread by animal rights and vegan activist groups and used those to advance their business interests through targeting conventional animal agriculture. They claim to sell healthier and more morally sound food than their competitors, and the myths surrounding conventional agriculture make people believe them.
One of the largest pillars of these myths, cage-free eggs, was even further disseminated with Proposition 2 in California, which banned cage production of eggs in the state. The problem with cage-free systems, as we have brought up in many other articles, is that they are actually worse for the welfare of the animals and their production.
The reason that the modern production systems revolve around cages 95% of the time is that they are better for the animals; they reduce the risk of predator attack, cannibalism, self-mutilation, disease, and parasites. By eliminating these cages, HSUS and these companies are just lowering the quality of life for the animals, increasing their mortality rate, and reducing the production of eggs.
Why would they do this? Because they don’t care about the negative effects, just if public opinion of their decisions will bring in more business or donations for the radical special interest groups.
The Health Halo Turned Horns
Panera doesn’t stop at eggs though; it also has moved to eliminate the use of antibiotics in the animals that it gets its products from – which could have countless negative health ramifications for their customers.
Animal antibiotics are important to keep our food supply safe and people healthier, which is why antibiotics have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for over 40 years. The supposed antibiotic resistance arguments has been addressed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA, Department of Agriculture, the veterinary community, animal health companies and farmers, and an exhaustive process is in place to protect human health.
These measures have been successful in decreasing the possibility of foodborne illness being transmitted, and a risk analysis shows that if we decrease the use of antibiotics then foodborne illnesses will inevitably increase. Just look at Denmark’s ban on antibiotics for growth or health maintenance in animals, it resulted in astoundingly increased rates of animal death and disease.
Regarding their ‘encouragement’ for Americans to move away from animal-based diets and the list of protein supplying plants they will be using: they ignore the difference in protein efficiency, and make false claims that you can live a full and healthy life on a plant-based diet.
Looking at a list of products by protein efficiency released by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates it clearly shows that eggs, milk, fish, and beef are all above their protein-providing plant-based counterparts. It’s a simple fact; you cannot get the same value from non-animal based foods consumed.
On top of that, leaving meat out of a diet strips a person of very important vitamins and minerals that deal with a person’s development and function; for an in-depth look you can read our article “The Scientific Response to Radical Veganism.”
It has been proven, beyond a doubt, animals are less well-off when taken away from modern forms of agricultural production, people are at a greater risk, and human health suffers without animal agriculture.
But these companies and organizations don’t care about any of that, only selling their products and soliciting donations. The Health Halo is a huge problem for the American people; it gives companies another way to manipulate them and put business ahead of human interests.