The Dirty Truth About Panera's 'Clean' Foods
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from

March 2019

Panera commercials boast about their use of "clean" ingredients, particularly those made from the bodies and fluids of other animals.... Whoever came up with the gimmick of associating animal-derived products with the concept of "clean" is a marketing genius and the devil incarnate.

caged hens
Hens exploited for their eggs stand on the body of a dead mate to avoid the painful wire flooring. © Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

The fast food chain Panera likes to flaunt itself as a chic place for modern foodies. Their commercials boast about their use of "clean" ingredients, particularly those made from the bodies and fluids of other animals. If you believe this advertising scheme, then I have a bridge to sell you.

So-called clean foods happen to be very trendy right now, yet the term "clean" is as meaningless as the word "natural." What's more, calling animal-based cheese, bacon, and chicken products "clean" is incredibly ironic. Why? Because these products are derived from the most unsanitary, sickly, and brutal operations in the world.

every twelve seconds
Please read Working Undercover in a Slaughterhouse: an interview with Timothy Pachirat

Breeding and killing nonhuman animals for consumption is a very dirty business. Most animals spend their days caged and wallowing in their own urine, feces, and blood, their lungs burning with the concentrated stench of excrement. Over 80 percent of all antibiotics are fed to animals bred for consumption because they're often sick with infections and sores.

No amount of sanitizing semantics can whitewash the horrors of those industries that exploit other living beings for their flesh, milk, and eggs. Animals are genetically manipulated and their lives cut short. They are deprived of every basic pleasure, tortured, and then killed for unnecessary foodstuffs. Their bodies bleed and their deaths are as excruciating as they are squalid.

The environmental destruction resulting from our mass consumption of captive animals is also incredibly dirty and damaging. Manure pits have led to human deaths and birth defects as a result of toxins seeping into groundwater. Many poorer communities surrounding factory farms battle polluted water and air. Fecal waste from cattle flows into rivers and streams, causing algae blooms that deprive the water of oxygen resulting in dead zones that suffocate sea animals to death.

The process by which once-sentient beings are turned into commodities like bacon, pepperoni, and other euphemistic disguises is also awash in filth and grime. In slaughterhouses, blood, urine, feces, vomit, bits of brain matter, and bile are a constant presence on the floor, walls, machinery, knives, clothes, and bodies of the workers themselves, according to Timothy Pachirat's exposé Every Twelve Seconds. The job of inspectors is to make sure none of these fluids and secretions remain on the corpses that get converted into packaged meat, but the number of FDA recalls and reported illnesses from tainted animal flesh tell a different story.

sow and piglet

Whoever came up with the gimmick of associating animal-derived products with the concept of "clean" is a marketing genius and the devil incarnate. There's nothing clean about spilling the blood of someone who wanted to live and transforming her and her babies into battered, blood-soaked, feces-caked inanimate objects. Only in this day and age of untruth and doublespeak could something so contrary to the meaning of clean—desecrated, disease ridden, dead, corrupt, immoral, unhealthy, unsanitary, unjust—be associated with cleanliness.

calf and flies

There is no legitimate basis for enslaving nonhuman animals for their flesh, milk, and eggs. On the contrary, there are more justifiable reasons why we ought not to, the foremost being ethical. Rather than question our societal norms of what is pleasurable and healthy, we make flimsy excuses that uphold the status quo. These bitter customs of ours would quickly vanish, however, if we were suddenly made to do our own killing or to substitute our cats and dogs for the pigs, chickens, turkeys, and cows we conveniently ignore and thoughtlessly consume.

People continuously look for right ways to do the wrong thing. Companies like Panera and Eat Clean Bro are only too happy to oblige, sustaining a false facade with deceptive marketing all the while bolstering their profits at the expense of the lives of other animals.

Inserting the word "clean" in front of animal body parts and products sounds nice and speciously offers us the absolution we seek, but a truly
clean conscience is not that easy to come by.

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