These ingredients are unacceptable, Panera says

Panera plans to make menu healthier
Panera plans to make menu healthier

Panera Bread released a list of additives on Monday that it is banning from its menu by the end of next year.

The no-no list includes more than 80 items that have either already been eliminated or are in the process of being removed, affecting more than 150 ingredients in its food. The additives include more household names such as aspartame and more obscure ones, like tertiary butylhydroquinone.

"There is a line in the sand," Panera CEO and founder Ron Shaich told CNBC. "If you can't pronounce it, what are you doing with it?"

A customer exits a Panera Bread Co. location in New York, U.S.
Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Starting Tuesday, the company will serve "clean" salad dressings without these artificial additives, marking one of the most complex undertakings of the ingredient overhaul so far.

The list follows Panera's announcement last June that it plans to remove artificial additives from its food by the end of 2016. About 85 percent of the simplified ingredients have either already launched nationally or are in test without the artificial additives.

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Panera customers won't likely see menu prices rise because of the ingredient change. "Unraveling the process is hard, but not necessarily more expensive," Shaich said.

Unengineering Panera's food has taken more than a year. The no-no list is the latest in a series of moves at Panera to clean up menu items and improve the welfare of animals used in its production. More than a decade ago, it debuted antibiotic-free chicken on its menu.

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Other companies, like Tyson Foods and McDonald's U.S. unit, have also recently announced plans to eliminate human antibiotics from their chicken. Meanwhile, fellow restaurant chain Chick-fil-A plans to serve chicken raised without antibiotics by 2019.

"I would be surprised if we don't see the industry continue to move in this direction," Shaich added.