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Mcflurries?
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Hello all. I'm sorry if this overlaps with intolerances to other foods or other boards, if I've posted this in the wrong section feel free to move it mods!

I'm currently undergoing diagnosis for celiac and other food intolerances. I initially had a negative blood test but my reactions to gluten/wheat have become so severe that I can't do the gluten-challenge. So I've been attempting the gluten-free diet for a few weeks now while waiting for some specialist input in September. In the meantime I've been discovering that I seem to have a lot of problems with cross contamination, and other food intolerances. Anyway, I need some guidance with a problem I'm having regarding Mcdonald's Mcflurries. My family has one takeaway night a week, and seeing as I spend the rest of the week eating clean with no snacks or treats, I feel I deserve a little icecream. :lol:

Despite only sticking to Mcflurries that claim to be gluten free and soy free, I seem to always have some kind of reaction to them. Yesterday I ate the Raspberry flake Mcflurry which according to the website, is supposed to be safe to eat. These are the ingredients:

Chocolate Flake Pieces:

Milk, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Vegetable Fat, Emulsifier (Ammonium Phosphatides), Flavourings

Icecream:

Skimmed Milk, Cream, Sugar, Whey Powder, Glucose Syrup, Stabiliser (Guar Gum, Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Nature Identical Flavouring, Carrageenan, Dextrose)

Raspberry Sauce:

Raspberries (45%), Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Water, Thickener (Pectin), Acidulant (Citric Acid)

As soon as I had finished eating I felt irritable, my abdomen swelled up to pregnancy size and my intestines became hard and lumpy. What is causing this reaction? I know the obvious answer is milk, but (fingers crossed) I don't have any issues with milk and dairy normally. I'm fine with milky teas and coffees, cheeses, and icecream is perfectly fine as long as there's no gluten or wheat added. In fact, a glass of milk, cocoa or some gluten free vanilla icecream really helps to settle my stomach if I'm having some issues. I don't know what out of those ingredients could be the cause. Unless there's some sort of contamination with how Mcflurries are made? The only other thing I can think of is sugar content, since the sugar content of Mcflurries is rather high. As a comparision, if the family fancies some KFC instead I usually have a cup of their plain dairy icecream with no toppings, and that has never caused me any problems.

If anyone could offer some input it would be very much appreciated. Dealing with Celiac seemed manageable at first, but now I have begun to realize I could have multiple food intolerances AND that I seem to be highly sensitive to gluten, it has made me feel quite lost and frustrated. I'm reading and trying to learn as much as I can but I always keep making mistakes.

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I'd imagine you're getting sick from cross contamination of the McFlurry machine. Just because the flavor you got is considered gluten free doesn't mean that the blender was cleaned properly after a non-gluten free one was made. You can ask them to clean it for you and explain your situation, if they're not crazy busy or just stick to a plan cup of ice cream!

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I would never trust anything at a fast food place to be safe. With that said, maybe you are reacting to dairy.

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As a super sensitive I can't eat out at all. There are so many possibilities in McFlurries, I don't even know where to start. It takes me from a couple of days to a couple of months to feel better after a glutening depending on how much gluten I consume. Once a week take out would do me in.

It is hard to deprive yourself like that, but worth the results. Maybe do a once a week trip to the Farmer's market and buy some delicious fresh peaches instead. Maybe do a once a week movie night.

I hope you feel better soon.

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On our trip to Australia, I became much more aware that glucose syrup may be derived from wheat (they had fantastic labels that declared "glucose syrup (wheat)" on their products there. Now, I think it is generally assumed that glucose syrup in USA is sourced from corn, but how would we know? As a super sensitive celiac that also has gluten allergy with wheat hypersensitivity, I do not consume glucose syrup.

I have no idea what the glucose syrup for Mcflurries in USA are . . . because they are not required to disclose it, I suppose. But here is a fantastic label for Australia: http://www.dietfacts.com/html/nutrition-facts/mcdonalds-australia-mc56406.htm

It really is a shame that USA labeling is not more forthcoming on what exactly is in our "food". It isn't like there will be an "allergy notification" if the source of their ingredients changes due to market conditions or a change in ingredients supplier. The only people that we have found to be fully informed and forthcoming about ALL ingredients and sourcing of our food is ourselves.

I hope that one day "Made in USA" will have some sort of quality and safety implied with their food products. For now, I view "Made in Australia" as the standard for our food quality and care if faced with making processed food consumption decisions.

Here is an older thread from this board about the glucose issue:

Are you in the USA? Your ingredient list for the McFlurries isn't consistent with the ingredient list on the corporate McDonald's USA site . . . maybe you are in a high risk glucose syrup (wheat) location? The corporate USA site indicates "corn syrup solids" and no glucose for the ice cream. http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/ingredientslist.pdf

It is hard for others to understand what a research project it can be just to stick something in your mouth, eh?

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From my understanding if glucose syrup is made from wheat it has to be declared on the lable. My son picked up some mentos and mentos gum the other day and it stated that glucose syrup(wheat) on the lable.

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I agree that the machine is probably contaminated. I don't eat at McDonald's, but do they mix in candy bars and other ingredients into the McFlurry? If so, that could be the source of contamination, similar to why we can't eat Blizzards at Dairy Queen.

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I agree that the machine is probably contaminated. I don't eat at McDonald's, but do they mix in candy bars and other ingredients into the McFlurry? If so, that could be the source of contamination, similar to why we can't eat Blizzards at Dairy Queen.

Actually, the McFlurry machine uses a "new" mixer spoon for each McFlurry. The mixer/spoon becomes the spoon that the customer uses to eat their McFlurry. I actually like their technique better than DQ's blizzard as the parts that come in contact with your food are all disposable (one time use only/part of what the customer gets).

I'm not saying there isn't cross contamination in there somewhere, I'm just saying it's not likely that it's coming from the McFlurry mixing machine.

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From my understanding if glucose syrup is made from wheat it has to be declared on the lable. My son picked up some mentos and mentos gum the other day and it stated that glucose syrup(wheat) on the lable.

Yes,this is true. If an ingredient is generated from wheat it, by US law, must be added to to the label.

Glucose and Dextrose are a couple of ingredients that are HIGHLY processed and the remaining gluten may not even be detectable.

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Actually, the McFlurry machine uses a "new" mixer spoon for each McFlurry. The mixer/spoon becomes the spoon that the customer uses to eat their McFlurry. I actually like their technique better than DQ's blizzard as the parts that come in contact with your food are all disposable (one time use only/part of what the customer gets).

I'm not saying there isn't cross contamination in there somewhere, I'm just saying it's not likely that it's coming from the McFlurry mixing machine.

Hi Janet,

That is good to know that a separate spoon is used. Thanks for the information.

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I'd assume gluten cc first, too, especially if you are not having any other dairy issues at this point in time.

When we went to a movie the other day, my son got an icee, and I watched the cashier hand a hot dog to the person ahead of us, and then when he went to get the icee, he grabbed the lid from the inside with his gluten coated fingers, and did the same to the cup.

Gluten is on the machines, the outside of the cups, the counter - it'd be hard to get something at McD's that's not a little gluten cc'd. In the beginning, my kids could sometimes have ice cream there and wouldn't get sick, but after they got really ill a couple times, we finally stopped going there.

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Thanks for the replies everyone! Whether the problems are CC or an ingredient I'll definitely cut out the Mcflurries now, I can live without them for better health. I'm enjoying healthier snacks now anyway. I know it's been a bit of a risk to think they were okay, I was hoping they were okay more due to wishing I could join in with the household when they fancy something. We have a very nice Indian restaurant locally that claims to serve dishes suitable for celiacs, but I've been glutened from their food twice now. Maybe I will have to suggest a movie night with some safe popcorn. :P

I'm sorry I should have mentioned, I'm from the UK. I'm still struggling to grasp the rules for labeling over here, especially with things like sources of dextrose and glucose syrup. Very rarely have I seen these two ingredients labeled as corn or wheat. Even on some products that are supposed to be gluten free or "suitable for celiacs." Labeling rules should be universal, companies make everything a lot more complicated than needs be. I'll give those links a read.

Again, thanks everyone. Lesson learned, McDonalds is not worth it. And I should probably start taking my sensitivity to gluten a bit more seriously.

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I'm sorry I should have mentioned, I'm from the UK. I'm still struggling to grasp the rules for labeling over here, especially with things like sources of dextrose and glucose syrup.

All right, a few things to know, then. Dextrose and glucose can be derived from wheat there in the UK. It's more likely than here in the USA. It's listed as safe for celiacs because "there is no significant gluten content" remaining after production. However, if you are sensitive, that 'insignificant' amount could still do a number on you.

This pretty much applies to anything derived from wheat, best I can tell. In the UK, that can be codex wheat starch, glucose, dextrose, maltodextrin, and msg. All of these are allowed in gluten free foods in the UK. I've seen folks from the UK here reporting trouble with a few of these, most often the codex wheat starch.

All that said, before deciding that glucose or dextrose that is wheat derived is bad for you personally, I'd try to check it out in a more secure environment first. Any time we react at a restaurant, the cc chances are just so great that it makes a poor test as to whether a food item is safe or not, you know?

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Yes,this is true. If an ingredient is generated from wheat it, by US law, must be added to to the label.

Glucose and Dextrose are a couple of ingredients that are HIGHLY processed and the remaining gluten may not even be detectable.

OK, I am trying to figure this out, and it seems so complicated sometimes. I picked up a pack of mentos yesterday at Hobby Lobby in Kentucky, USA. The ingredients listed "glucose syrup" with no declaration of source. There was no indication at all of "WHEAT" or any other allergen on the label. How does one know the source of the glucose syrup on this label? Is there any assurance that it is NOT derived from wheat? And if glucose and dextrose are highly processed, do they fall into an exemption category because there is theoretically no protein left? I could not find any exemption language in the FDA stuff I reviewed, but there is a lot of information to sort through. Thanks!

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Thanks T.H, I understand. But does that really mean that something labeled "gluten free" that includes dextrose or glucose syrup that could be from wheat in the UK? Looks like I'm going to have to harrass some companies if that is the case because that could be why I haven't been seeing as much progress in the last couple of weeks. About a week ago I tried some rice noodles that were supposed to be "suitable for celiacs", but they contained barely amylase? Result was immediate bloating and problems the next morning.

The ingredients listed "glucose syrup" with no declaration of source. There was no indication at all of "WHEAT" or any other allergen on the label. How does one know the source of the glucose syrup on this label? Is there any assurance that it is NOT derived from wheat?

I'm beginning to feel like I can't trust any food company now! Gluten free really should mean 100% GLUTEN FREE. <_<

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When I was newly diagnosed, my GI doctor said that the part of the villi that produce lactase (which digests lactose in dairy) is at the very tip. It is the first part of the villi that is damaged, but is also the first part that comes back. That said, he recommended that I avoid all dairy products for about 6 months to give that part of my villi time to heal so I could properly digest milk products again without . . . well, pain, discomfort, misery, you get the picture! After about 3 or 4 months I could start eating small amounts of dairy with lact-aid pills, and within another 4-6 weeks everything was back to normal. So if you can pinpoint the difference between a gluten reaction and a dairy reaction, that may give you a clue as to whether the McFlurrys are going to (eventually) be okay, or if they are a no go for you. Please don't try to intentially gluten yourself!! That would be miserable! But if you happen to get cross-contaminated, take note of your reactions. Knowing what reaction I get from what product has helped me recognize new ... stuff. Take care!

-Daisy

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How does one know the source of the glucose syrup on this label? Is there any assurance that it is NOT derived from wheat? And if glucose and dextrose are highly processed, do they fall into an exemption category because there is theoretically no protein left? I could not find any exemption language in the FDA stuff I reviewed, but there is a lot of information to sort through. Thanks!

If the glucose syrup was derived from wheat, it by law, must be listed at GLUCOSE SYRUP (Wheat). If it does not indicate wheat, its derived by something other....In the US.

The offending protein is removed during processing and it's my understanding that any remaining protein would not be detectable. It's not one level of processing, but several.

http://surefoodsliving.com/2008/09/is-glucose-syrup-gluten-free/

"Conclusions: Wheat-based starch hydrolysates, glucose syrups and maltodextrins did not have harmful effect on coeliac disease patients. Coeliac patients can thus safely continue to consume these products."

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http://surefoodsliving.com/2008/09/is-glucose-syrup-gluten-free/

"Conclusions: Wheat-based starch hydrolysates, glucose syrups and maltodextrins did not have harmful effect on coeliac disease patients. Coeliac patients can thus safely continue to consume these products."

I'll be honest, I haven't yet read anything that makes me feel that the matter has been adequately studied. The study from Finland that is often sited as evidence of the safety of wheat starch hydrolysates has some unfortunate flaws. So do other studies I've seen on safe gluten levels, and they all have potentially skewed the numbers to a higher gluten threshold.

The participants in the Finnish study were chosen from celiacs who were in clinical remission in Finland in 2004 and 2005. At that point, the gluten free standard for gluten free food in Finland was <200 ppm. So the study's results are only a reliable measure of safety for any celiac who can heal while eating a diet of 200 ppm of gluten or less.

Not everyone can tolerate that level of gluten. People here in the sensitive forum often can't tolerate foods with a 20 ppm concentration, so I don't think results from a study of celiacs who can tolerate 200 ppm are as useful for us. Nice to know that some people are safe with it, yeah, but not universally applicable to all celiacs, IMHO.

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It's probably not cross contamination. It's probably Whey.

Many people diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac also cross react to Whey.

I do, and I found out because I was reacting to things like ice cream and some cheeses, but not milk or yogurt. I read up on it and asked around and found out that anything with Whey listed in the first few ingredients I react to.

I would suggest avoiding Whey.

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It's probably not cross contamination. It's probably Whey.

Many people diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac also cross react to Whey.

I do, and I found out because I was reacting to things like ice cream and some cheeses, but not milk or yogurt. I read up on it and asked around and found out that anything with Whey listed in the first few ingredients I react to.

I would suggest avoiding Whey.

Whey is from milk. Not sure what your definition of " cross react" is but whey is not gluten. Many people, some with Celiac , have an inability to digest it. For many, when they have healed thier intestines, they can add it back in.

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I know that this is an old post but I find it odd that you'd suggest someone avoiding whey because they reacted to a McFlurry. I would say it's highly likely that it was cross contamination based on the flavors that McDonald's now has of McFlurries. The Oreo one is their most popular. They used to have a lot of different flavors but now I think they have 3 or so. I also am curious about your term "cross react" Whey is from milk, not a celiac thing.

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Though this is an old thread, I know my Internet searches often lead me to really old threads on celiac.com, so I am going to comment anyway.

Cross-contamination from the machine IS a very likely scenario. I worked at McD's when I was in high school and would guess that the McFlurry machine still hasn't changed in all those years. While they do use a separate spoon to do the actual mixing, I can tell you that little bits of cookie still get all over the place. I know this from cleaning the machine. So, bits of Oreo could stick to the area above where the spoon is attached and then fall in while a new one is being mixed. Also, the containers where the add-ins (Oreo, etc) are stored is a potential risk for cross contamination. And, the employees who touch a spoon to make a mcflurry are likely touching many other gluten-containing things. Things like crumbs have a way of getting around.

In summary: don't rule out cross contamination, even though they do mix it with a new, theoretically clean spoon.

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No one ruled out cross contamination. We weren't sure why they were telling people to avoid whey.

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I'm pretty sure this is the SAME problem I had. I later found out that I'm intolerant to corn. Anything with corn syrup, starch, etc. gives me the same symptoms as gluten.

The gastro did tell me that I likely have IBS that is triggered by fructose, so I'm checking into that now.

Once I cut corn, I felt SO much better.

I sighed to not have the Mcdonalds drinks and desserts too.

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Gluten free really should mean 100% GLUTEN FREE. <_<

Unfortunately, there aren't any tests that would tell us that.

There are more sensitive tests than 20 ppm though.

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