Panera egg sandwich
Panera is launching breakfast sandwiches featuring eggs served over-easy.

ST. LOUIS — Panera Bread said it has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to establish a definition for the term “egg.” Current regulations do not establish a standard of identity for eggs, allowing companies to sell and market items containing additives such as flavors, gums and added color under the generic term “egg,” Panera said.

Sarah Burnett, Panera
Sara Burnett, director of wellness and food policy

“Panera and our competitors use the F.D.A. definitions to guide our product descriptions and names,” said Sara Burnett, director of wellness and food policy at Panera Bread. “But in the case of ‘eggs,’ we have no guidance. Brands can say they offer an egg sandwich, but sell an egg product that contains multiple additives. At Panera, consumers can be assured that when they order eggs, that’s exactly what they’re getting.”

The company said it found menu items at leading fast-casual restaurants featuring an “egg” made of at least five ingredients.

Blaine Hurst, Panera
Blaine Hurst, president and c.e.o.

“Responsible companies will be transparent about the food items they serve, even if regulation does not require them to do so,” said Blaine Hurst, president and chief executive officer. “At Panera, we believe 100% real eggs are the basis for a great breakfast sandwich.”

The announcement comes as Panera is set to launch new breakfast sandwiches featuring eggs cooked to order and served over-easy on a brioche bun topped with Vermont white cheddar cheese or thick-cut bacon.