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Eatable News: Panera goes cage-free, calorie counts don't work and more

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

No one cares about fast food calories, California's toxic crabs and more food news you need to read

At SheKnows Food, we spend a lot of time reading about — you guessed it — food (and drinks too!). And we’ve come across some stories that are too good to not share. Here are the food items from the week that you don’t want to miss.

1. Your favorite foods have an insane number of ingredients

It's easy to take foods at their face value. Store-bought bread? That should contain flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt. Chicken nuggets? Chicken, breading. But food writer Steve Ettlinger and photographer Dwight Eschliman were intrigued by the paragraph-long ingredient lists they saw on the backs of seemingly simple packaged foods and decided to lay out all those food ingredients and photograph them. Turns out that simple loaf of whole-grain bread has more than 30 ingredients, and the chicken nuggets a whopping 40. They broke down 25 common foods to expose what really goes into their creation and are releasing their findings in a book called Ingredients: A Visual Exploration Of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products. — The Washington Post

More: Premade vs. homemade: What foods to buy, and what to make from scratch

2. The California Health Department is feeling crabby

Just days before the start of crab season on the West Coast, the California Health Department has announced that eating the crustaceans could be deadly. Dungeness crab and rock crab both showed extremely high levels of domoic acid when tested, which can be fatal if ingested by humans in large enough quantities. The high levels are likely a result of this year's warmer water temperatures, which encouraged the growth of the algae that create the acid. Meanwhile, crabbers and restaurateurs alike are worried about suffering major financial losses if the season is delayed for too long or, worse yet, canceled. — San Francisco Chronicle

3. Posting calorie counts on fast-food menus hasn’t done a darn thing

For a long time nutritionists thought poor dining choices at restaurants were due to customers not knowing just how caloric and high-fat the dishes really were. But after New York decreed that calorie counts be printed on menus in 2008, it seems like knowing how unhealthy a food is hasn't stopped people from ordering it. A study by Health Affairs shows that New Yorkers are consuming the same number of calories despite posted calorie counts as other eaters are. I guess when we have our heart set on a food, there's nothing that can stop us. So what now? Maybe it's time for restaurants themselves to start making their menu items healthier. — Time

More: 10 Shocking Fast Food Facts

4. Panera is making the switch to cage-free eggs

Following in the footsteps of Starbucks and McDonald's, Panera Bread says it is switching to cage-free eggs by the year 2020. "While there is more work to be done, we are within reach of a menu without antibiotics and unnecessary confinement," Panera CEO and founder Ron Shaich said in a statement. The company is already a leader in sourcing unconventionally farmed meats — they use 100 percent gestation crate-free, vegetarian-fed pork, 100 percent antibiotic-free poultry, and 89 percent of its beef is grass-fed. — MarketWatch

5. This is what Chipotle is doing with those restaurants it closed after the E. coli outbreak

After a major E. coli outbreak was traced to eight Chipotle restaurants in the northwest (which may have stemmed from a vegetable), the chain is cleaning house. It has shuttered 43 of its restaurants in the Portland and Seattle areas, and now those locations are undergoing some serious deep cleaning. Not only that, but in an attempt to isolate which ingredient was contaminated in the first place, Chipotle is testing every ingredient at these locations for traces of E. coli before throwing everything out and beginning the deep clean. Each location will open with all new, fresh ingredients after the testing and deep cleaning are completed. Is it weird that writing about this just makes us hungry for a burrito bowl? — Consumerist

More: Baked black bean taquitos with avocado dipping sauce

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