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More On Mcd Fries
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More information here and some VERY wise advice (thge bold was added by me) about staying cool.

Statement from Cynthia, Executive Director, Gluten Intolerance Group

that I'm passing on to you. Betty Barfield, President, North Texas

GIG

February 16, 2006

STATEMENT ON MCDONALDS FOR GIG BRANCH LEADERS

McDonald's and the Celiac Community

The Gluten Intolerance Group of NA, members of the American Celiac

Disease Alliance, and others have worked at length with McDonald's,

the FDA, research and industry leaders to help provide an answer to

the outcry by the celiac and allergy communities to McDonald's

recent announcement of wheat and dairy being in the fries.

A position statement from GIG, CDF and others in the ACDA:

The science and processing of refined oils does not allow residual

proteins to be left in the oils at any level significant to be

detected or cause an allergic reaction. The favoring agent added to

the oil during par-frying is possibly suspect, however until

information is provided on testing of the flavoring agent we cannot

say if it is a problem or not. The flavoring company has stated to

McDonald's that the flavoring has no allergenic proteins and since

McDonald's policy is that the fryers used fry the French fries are

dedicated and only used for potatoes, this would mean the fries are

gluten-free. McDonald's is expected to make an updated statement

about this situation in the very near future. We anticipate that it

may include information about recent testing.

Choosing to eat any food is always the individual consumer's choice.

If you feel uncomfortable with this information, it is ultimately

your choice to eat the fries or not.

GIG and other leaders in the celiac community have taken a proactive

position on advocating for safe food for persons with celiac disease

and appropriate labeling. At the same time, it is important to

recognize the need for education about how the law may initially

cause confusion about ingredients that are truly safe and should not

be required to be labeled, according to this law.

As we try to educate consumers, it is important that the community

approach their questions and concerns in a calm, logical manner.

This is not always easy to do when the health of a child or yourself

is at potential risk. Ultimately, it will have positive impact on

the food industry and their desire to work with us for our benefit.

Background:

The FALCPA law does not apply to McDonald's or other restaurants. It

applies to packaged foods. The allergen information will appear on

the packaging of foods purchased by consumers and those purchased by

food businesses, such as restaurants, hospitals and schools.

However, the law does not require such businesses to post this

information.

McDonald's is a company that wants to be transparent and supportive

of health initiatives within the fast food industry and the allergic

community. In wanting to be transparent, they chose to disclose

information about their fries, based on the package labeling

information on the foods they purchase.

FALCPA is an excellent law, and will resolve the majority of

labeling issues for persons with celiac disease, gluten intolerances

and allergies. It requires that plain language be used on packaging

to identify the top 8 allergens – wheat, soy, eggs, dairy, fish,

shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts.

The law exempts from labeling these allergens in the event that the

allergens are removed and the allergenic protein does not exist in

the ingredient. An example of such an exemption is refined oil. The

law allows companies to file exemptions for ingredients, if they can

prove no allergen exists in the ingredient.

At this time, the FDA has not filed formal rulings on the exemptions

filed.

The issue at hand:

McDonald's, wanting to be transparent and community-minded,

disclosed the information on packaging of their fries, indicating

that the FLAVORING Agent added to the par-fry oil included a wheat

and dairy source, which the par-fry company states does not contain

proteins (therefore cannot be allergenic).

People in the allergy and celiac communities feel betrayed and

outraged with McDonald's for being untruthful in the past. They are

angry and afraid.

Oil Processing

Refined oils are processed by cold, or heat and pressure extraction.

Cold extraction oils, such as olive and peanut oils, are generally

more expensive and less shelf-stable. They also retain their natural

flavors, aroma, and nutritional values. Heat and pressure

extraction allow oils to be more stable. Heat extraction includes

oils that are extracted from the fruits and seeds under high

pressure (up to 15 tons), known as expeller processing or a solvent

extraction process. Solvents are used to extract the oils from the

seeds and then it is boiled to remove the solvents. These oils are

often further refined using bleaching, deodorizing and high

temperatures. Oils highly refined in this manner have very little of

the original flavor, aroma, and nutrients of the original seeds or

fruit. These oils have high smoke points and long shelf lives,

making them ideal for frying. Scientists have stated that the

bleaching process or high atmospheric pressure is enough to destroy

the proteins.

Any flavorings are added after the deodorizing process to highly

refined oils, otherwise the process would render the flavoring

neutral.

The Flavorings

We do not know a lot about the flavoring used at this time, except

what was reported in the press and by McDonald's.

Word reached Canada about the McDonald's information. Health Canada

is launched even stricter regulations than they currently have in

place for allergens. Health Canada is like the FDA in the US. This

representative felt that even with their strict regulations, that

these ingredients would be excluded from having to be declared on

labels based on their lack of protein content. It is important to

note that McDonald's products may be formulated differently in other

countries; however, as the celiac community often looks to Canada

for its strict gluten regulations, it is helpful to know how one

person in Health Canada views this situation.

We are trying to encourage that an exemption be filed with the FDA

by the oil and/or flavoring company.

Why the Confusion:

The confusion comes in that very few ingredients, that do not have

allergic proteins in them have not filed for or been approved by the

FDA as exempt from the law. Until they are exempt, the law requires

that the label bear the starting ingredients if they are a top 8

allergen. This confuses and frightens consumers, who are depending

on this law to provide a measure of assurance to safety. We knew

this would happen in the beginning and hope that the reaction of

consumers to the McDonald's incident will cause the FDA to fast-pace

the exemption process and stop the confusion. Remember that proteins

cause allergic reactions. Companies must show no allergenic proteins

are in the ingredient to be exempt from the law.

What Can We Do

First, do not panic. It is important we approach any labeling issues

with a sense of fully understanding the process and issue. If the

celiac community chooses react and lash out at companies, without

having all the facts and full understanding, they risk isolation of

those companies and others. The food industry is on the same

learning curve about the law as consumers. They are watching how

consumers react to labeling changes. History shows us that when we

are supportive of the companies in the changes they make, they

support us. When we attack, they and others will choose not to

support the consumer community. Do we want companies to purposefully

add wheat to their products so they do not have to deal with us?

That is already happening. Wouldn't you rather pat them on the back

and watch them do more to support our needs? That has happened, but

could very quickly stop.

We ask that as leaders in the celiac community, that you help us to

support the community needs by providing sound information and a

calming effect. Help us to help consumers understand and act in a

productive rather than destructive manner towards the changes. Help

us to educate others about food processing and the allergen labeling

law's benefits.

For more information about this information contact: Cynthia Kupper,

RD, Executive Director, GIG 206-246-6652

Cynthia Kupper, RD, celiac disease

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Thank you, Richard. Excellent information.

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The Flavorings

We do not know a lot about the flavoring used at this time, except

what was reported in the press and by McDonald's.

So we still have no reaosn to believe the fries are gluten-free. Thanks for hte info!

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I ment to say thanks for the info on the oil! THat good to know.

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A position statement from GIG, CDF and others in the ACDA:

The science and processing of refined oils does not allow residual proteins to be left in the oils at any level significant to be detected or cause an allergic reaction. The favoring agent added to the oil during par-frying is possibly suspect, however until information is provided on testing of the flavoring agent we cannot say if it is a problem or not. The flavoring company has stated to McDonald's that the flavoring has no allergenic proteins and since McDonald's policy is that the fryers used fry the French fries are dedicated and only used for potatoes, this would mean the fries are gluten-free. McDonald's is expected to make an updated statement about this situation in the very near future. We anticipate that it may include information about recent testing.

I think the only thing we know for sure is that we don't know for sure, yet.

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I think the only thing we know for sure is that we don't know for sure, yet.

Exactly, as I said "we have no reason to believe they are gluten-free"

All we know for sure is the flavoring is wheat based, so with lack of good reason to call that flavor gluten-free, comon sense ditactes we assume it is not gluten free.

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I think it's time for the PR guy at McDonald's to find a new job <_<

Unless it was their goal to look like they have their heads up their butts...

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Just an fyi -

My son used to work at a McD's -

no one from there ever went to the "training"

sessions, they just trained on the job.

There was supposed to be a dedicated fryer

but it really wasn't because when push

came to shove - they used it for other

items.

I'm not saying they all do that - just

that this scenario does exist.

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Also another FYI, there are quiet a bit of items that are on the updated list available at Mcdonalds.com that states they are gluten free. However on the ingredients list the questionable products state "modified food starch" or "starch" or "modified corn starch". This to me is very confusing because we don't know the source of the modified food startch or the type of starch used on the cheese.

Also noted, our CSA Binder listed the grilled chicken breast as gluten free, however Mcdonald's removed that from the list and on the ingredients list it has wheat gluten listed.

I am so frusterated by this.. we are still learning about this diet and I use my binder constantly. I also asked the management team at our 2 local Mcdonald's if they could be certain that these two items were gluten free and they assured me that they were certified gluten free. If the chicken breast has wheat gluten in the ingredient how could they tell me this.

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That does sound very confusing. Why would they specify corn for some starch and leave the others to just say "starch" or "food starch" unless it was other than corn starch? Very confusing...... Sounds like they really don't have a handle on things over there...... At least with Kraft (another big corporation, only THEY have their act together), if it says just plain starch, you know it's safe because they guarantee to put WHEAT STARCH if it is such........

Karen

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I do think that that is an excellent letter with very good advice. I do know, also, that McDonalds has led me to believe that their french fries are safe. Given the fact that I've been eating them 1-2 x / week, it does make me question why my neurologist questions the sincerity of my answer when I tell him that I have been adhering strictly to the gluten-free diet. I have continued to get worse, including increasing positive neurological tests. I have to look the MD squarely in the eyes and swear to him that I'm following the diet to the letter -- and yet, I think he doesn't believe me. If these stupid fries are to blame for that, it really makes me mad.

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Also, why do they bother having a section in their website for Press Releases? I have looked on both the Cdn and US websites and they haven't posted a press release since 2005. Nothing new for this year at all... You would think they would post a press release on there to make a statement....

Karen

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that's all well and good, but now my daughter and I know the source of our "mysterious glutenings" and we haven't had ANY since we've started avoiding McD's... If it WAS the fries, it makes me so angry that they put the health of so many people at risk by "not knowing"... not good enough for me.

I would like a satisfactory explanation, haven't seen one yet, and I would like an apology.

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that's all well and good, but now my daughter and I know the source of our "mysterious glutenings" and we haven't had ANY since we've started avoiding McD's... If it WAS the fries, it makes me so angry that they put the health of so many people at risk by "not knowing"... not good enough for me.

I would like a satisfactory explanation, haven't seen one yet, and I would like an apology.

I doubt your gonna get one. They will likely stall on this till it goes away, and probably are willing to accept the loss of business.

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Such a long post, Richard. I will have to read it when I have more time, but based on a skim, it looks good. Thanks for posting.

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I'm not sure how to say this in any other way than I've said it before -- and this is to everybody, not to any individual -- eating REGULARLY at a fast food place when you have celiac is just an extremely, horribly, awfully, terribly, incredibly, stupendously bad idea. You are absolutely guaranteed to have problems with CC. Period. No matter where you eat. Celiac experts generally agree you shouldn't eat out more than 1-2 times a month, and even then you're better off eating at an upscale local place.

I think some folks want to think they can eat safely on a regular basis at McD, BK, Wendys and so forth, but it just isn't possible. You WILL get glutened, fries or no fries, flavoring or no flavoring.

richard

"They will likely stall on this till it goes away, and probably are willing to accept the loss of business."

We'll see, but I think you're absolutely wrong on this.

richard

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"They will likely stall on this till it goes away, and probably are willing to accept the loss of business."

We'll see, but I think you're absolutely wrong on this.

richard

I hope I am. But in my experence thats how its normally handled... just enough lip service to make it look good, and it goes away.

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