Panera Bread worker says frozen mac-and-cheese video got her fired

A former Panera Bread employee apparently paid a stiff price for appearing in a video showing the chain’s popular macaroni and cheese is pre-packaged and frozen.

Shared on the app TikTok with the caption “exposing Panera,” the short video — which has amassed more than 6 million views — shows a plastic packet of frozen mac and cheese dropped into boiling water, cut open and poured into a bowl. A woman with a Panera Bread cap then gives a thumbs up over the ready-to-serve meal.

The woman in the video on Friday announced on Twitter that “I lost my job for this.”

The viral clip drew a stream of commentary and complaints on social media, with one Twitter user calling it “proof” that the company’s mac and cheese “is garbage.”

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Others were disdainful that anyone would be surprised to learn that the restaurant chain used frozen food. “Did people really think there was a chef hanging out in the kitchen of Panera Bread making their mac and cheese? This is literally how every fast-food joint operates,” declared another Twitter user.

“We can’t comment on personnel matters,” a spokesperson for Panera told CBS MoneyWatch.

According to Panera, it sells more than 3 million mac-and-cheese servings a month  “Our mac and cheese is made off site … using our sourced ingredients that met our standards for our clean menu offerings,” the spokesperson said. “It is shipped frozen to our baker cafes — this allows us to avoid using certain preservatives that do not meet our clean standards.”

Privately held by JAB Holding, Panera operates more than 2,300 bakery-cafes in the U.S. and Canada.

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