(FOX News) - The woman behind a now-viral video “exposing” how Panera Bread prepares its mac and cheese says she was fired from the company.
The video, originally posted last week on the social media app TikTok with the caption “exposing Panera,” shows an employee drop a plastic packet of frozen mac and cheese into a boiler, cut the bag open and then pour its contents into a bowl.
The woman who posted it gives a thumbs up at the end of the clip. The video quickly drew criticism as commenters slammed the chain restaurant for selling frozen food instead of mac and cheese that is actually cooked in the kitchen.
“Someone said Panera is just hospital food and this proves it,” one person commented.
Some online users expressed that they weren’t surprised in the least by Panera Bread’s apparent food preparation.
“I don’t get what she’s exposing? Did people really think there was a chef hanging out in the kitchen of Panera Bread making their Mac and Cheese?” one user tweeted. “This is literally how every fast food joint operates, don’t be fooled.”
Backlash over the video didn’t just fall on Panera Bread as the unidentified woman behind the video announced Friday on Twitter that she lost her job over it. “Lol i lost my job for this,” she tweeted.
A spokesperson for Panera Bread confirmed the video’s authenticity but declined to comment further on personnel matters, according to The Washington Post. The company defended its preparation of the mac and cheese, the Post reports, which it said is a patently Panera product “made offsite with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs.”
“It is shipped frozen to our bakery cafes — this allows us to avoid using preservatives which do not meet our clean standards,” a statement said.