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More On Mcd Fries


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#1 lovegrov

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 08:36 AM

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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#2 psawyer

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 09:30 AM

Thank you, Richard. Excellent information.
  • 0
Peter
Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000.
Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes diagnosed in March 1986
Markham, Ontario (borders on Toronto)

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#3 VydorScope

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 09:41 AM

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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#4 VydorScope

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 10:03 AM

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

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 10:11 AM

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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Peter
Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000.
Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes diagnosed in March 1986
Markham, Ontario (borders on Toronto)

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

#6 VydorScope

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 10:18 AM

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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#7 penguin

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 10:30 AM

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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Alright, don't worry even if things end up a bit too heavy
We'll all float on, alright
Well we'll float on good news is on the way...

#8 aaascr

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 11:36 AM

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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alicia
been gluten-free 4 yrs.
too many food allergies to list!

#9 semperwife

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 12:44 PM

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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#10 Canadian Karen

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 12:47 PM

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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Karen

positive bloodwork, positive biopsy
Celiac, collagenous colitis, hypothyroidism
endometriosis (at age 20)
spinal stenosis (early 20's)

Biopsy August 2006 confirmed complete villous atrophy despite being gluten-free for years and bloodwork within range showing compliance with diet. Doctor has confirmed diagnosis of Refractory Celiac Sprue.
Endoscopy also showed numerous stomach ulcers, have started taking Losec.

Mother to Eileen 13 yrs
Rhiannon 8 yrs
Daniel & Connor 6 yr twin boys......

"Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young. A good laugh makes us better friends with ourselves and everybody around us."
Orison Swett Marden


Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
-- Victor Borge



"An optimist laughs to forget. A pessimist forgets to laugh."
Tom Nansbury


"Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are not a hypochondriac."
Unknown

#11 tiredofdoctors!!!

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 12:59 PM

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.
  • 0
Lynne

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I'll try tomorrow".

"There's not a word yet, for old friends we've just met. Part Heaven, part space, or have I found my place? You can just visit, but I plan to stay, I'm going to go back there some day." Gonzo, in the Muppet Movie

#12 Canadian Karen

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 01:06 PM

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
  • 0
Karen

positive bloodwork, positive biopsy
Celiac, collagenous colitis, hypothyroidism
endometriosis (at age 20)
spinal stenosis (early 20's)

Biopsy August 2006 confirmed complete villous atrophy despite being gluten-free for years and bloodwork within range showing compliance with diet. Doctor has confirmed diagnosis of Refractory Celiac Sprue.
Endoscopy also showed numerous stomach ulcers, have started taking Losec.

Mother to Eileen 13 yrs
Rhiannon 8 yrs
Daniel & Connor 6 yr twin boys......

"Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young. A good laugh makes us better friends with ourselves and everybody around us."
Orison Swett Marden


Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
-- Victor Borge



"An optimist laughs to forget. A pessimist forgets to laugh."
Tom Nansbury


"Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are not a hypochondriac."
Unknown

#13 Guest_nini_*

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 01:13 PM

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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#14 VydorScope

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 01:18 PM

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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#15 bluelotus

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 05:48 PM

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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