What should be a relatively straightforward question is being taken to the Food and Drug Administration in the USA by bakery chain Panera, in what is seen as a thinly veiled attack on competitors such as Burger King, Taco Bell and Dunkin Donuts. Panera has slowly been swapping out the eggs it uses in its breakfast sandwiches, part of a larger shift towards health foods and healthy eating. The company is arguing that there is currently no definition of what constitutes an egg, and consumers are being fed egg-based products with a number of extra additives.

“Panera and our competitors use the FDA definitions to guide our product descriptions and names,” said Sara Burnett, director of wellness and food policy at Panera. “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.”

In accordance with MPI guidelines, egg products in New Zealand are differentiated from eggs and are required to be sold as such. However, following trends and public pressure, most major fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King have long since committed to using only free-range eggs in their products.