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Are Fast Food Places Like Mcdonalds Safe To Eat?

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I being diagnosed with celiac a few weeks ago and since then I have begun my gluten free diet. I have the dh rash and I was very itchy when I was eating gluten. When I have home cooked potatoes which are cooked in the oven I am fine and I have not symptoms of itchy skin. However last night I at Mcdonalds fries and I was itching all night. I don't know why I am reacting to these fast food fries. Does anyone know why I might be reacting to these fast food fries?  

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It could be because the fries are coated in flour or they have been cooked in the same vat as something that has gluten, like the fish patties. Check the website- just make sure it is the one for your country as even with brands/products that are world wide the ingredients vary and what may be gluten-free in one country is not in another.  I know that Mcdonalds UK site lists if items are fried in the same oil as other things. 

 

Always check before eating as gluten can be in places you wouldn't expect. As far as eating goes, it is really a personal choice. Unless you are going to a dedicated gluten-free place there will always be a bit of risk of things getting contaminated.

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Last I heard, McDonalds adds a "beef flavor" to their oil and it contains gluten.

 

This is not true in the United States.  I don't know about other Countries but it seems highly unlikely.

 

Colleen

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This is not true in the United States.  I don't know about other Countries but it seems highly unlikely.

 

Colleen

This makes my heart happy!! When I looked up if fries were gluten-free or not at McDonald's, I found many sites talking about this "beef flavoring". Thanks for letting me know.

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http://theglutenfreebar.com/gluten-free-blog/gluten-free-food-list/fast-food/are-mcdonalds-fries-gluten-free/

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/GlutenFreeSnacks/a/Gluten-Free-French-Fries.htm

These are some of the articles I've read. It does test below 20ppm so it's technically gluten-free. However, I'm sure some super-sensitive people can react.

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French Fries fried in oil are 100 % gluten free.  The worry is the chance of CC when prepared in a restaurant.  This is assuming it is just potato's and oil (no seasoning). Most people will ask if a restaurant has a dedicated fryer.

 

The two links you provided are not reliable sources to get accurate information.  Only use credible research sources.  The links are also talking about seasoned/breaded fries.  They do correctly state that their is a chance of CC from un-dedicated fryers.

 

Colleen

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I don't know about McDonald's, but when I was a teenager I did work at BK, and even though they had dedicated fryers, I wouldn't trust the frys. Too large of a risk of CC. When they get busy and start swinging baskets around, its almost guaranteed that something like a chicken tender or onion ring will end up on the fry said. Not to mention oil from other fryers might get drained and put back on the fry side, or simply splash over. Too big of a risk in my opinion.

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At McDonalds, the potato fryers are at the front, and operated by the window crew; the other fryers, which are in the back, are operated by the grill crew. This physical separation makes the likelihood of transfer from other foods close to zero. But that applies only to McD. The fryers at BK are shared and are not safe.

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McDonald's French fries in the US contain Natural beef flavor, which is wheat based.  They are not safe for a gluten free diet.

Directly copied and pasted from McDonald's website for its allergen information:

 

FRENCH FRIES: Ingredients:  Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid [Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt.  Prepared in Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. * CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK. *Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

 

From this website:  http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/food_quality/nutrition_choices.html
Click on the link for the Ingredients PDF.


 

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The only places I have been able to eat French fries is at Five Guys (the only thing they deep fry are French fries, which are cut on site from fresh potatoes), and Red Robin.  They have a dedicated fryer ... however, as the manager has said "I wouldn't suggest eating them late on a busy Friday evening. Even with precautions in place, accidents happen and something may be dropped in there accidentally. Check with me and I'll let you know if it's safe."

 

I wouldn't risk McDonald's, and ruin an evening out with grandkids or kids. 

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The question of gluten in the Mcfries is the most debated issue of this board over the past eight years. There is a wheat-derived ingredient in the beef flavor added to the oil in which they are partially fried before being frozen. The oil using for the final frying does not contain anything but oil. The final product does not contain any detectable gluten.

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When McDonald's own website says here's what's in the fries, and here's what they are prepared in I'm going to tend to trust that they put beef flavoring that is wheat based in the fries.

The oils they are prepared in are just oils.

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When McDonald's own website says here's what's in the fries, and here's what they are prepared in I'm going to tend to trust that they put beef flavoring that is wheat based in the fries.

The oils they are prepared in are just oils.

At store level, the oils are not flavored, but do have preservatives. At the manufacturing facility, there is a flavor added to the oil.

If you read the ingredients that you yourself posted, you will see that the second ingredient is the "vegetable oil" at the plant, which is then broken down in a parenthesized sublist. The wheat derivative is within the sublist. Following the salt, the list describes the "vegetable oil" in which it is prepared at store level. Below I have highlighted the two listings for vegetable oil, and stressed the sublist delimiters for them, and within those sublists. Ingredient lists are legal documents, and the punctuation definitely matters.

FRENCH FRIES: Ingredients:  Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid [Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt.  Prepared in Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. * CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK. *Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

So, as I said, there is a wheat-derived ingredient in the beef flavor, which is an ingredient in the oil, which is an ingredient in the fries (they arrive at the store, frozen, with a small amount of oil in them).

 

The final product has been R5 ELISA tested, and there is no detectable gluten. Be aware of the facts, and make a personal decision that is right for you. It may not be right for other persons with celiac disease.

 

BTW, the original flavor source was beef tallow. That meant that the fries were not vegetarian, and vegetarians complained, so the flavoring was changed to what we have today.

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Cathy,

This got me, too, when I was new to Celiac.

There are a few items that are derived from wheat but don't contain measurable gluten. I think this flavoring falls in that category. But in the US, we require it be labelled with " wheat " even if it has been tested and certified as gluten-free.

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Also a word of caution: while the fries are tested and show no measurable traces of gluten, I have never seen a McDonald's that specifically has a vat for fries only...meaning breaded chicken can be cooked in the same vat as your fries.

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Also a word of caution: while the fries are tested and show no measurable traces of gluten, I have never seen a McDonald's that specifically has a vat for fries only...meaning breaded chicken can be cooked in the same vat as your fries.

Actually, that is against company policy. The fries/ hash browns are cooked at a different temp than other foods. Also, because fries are McD's pride and joy, cooking something else in the oil will change the taste. It is very important to McD's to maintain the integrity of the fry flavor.

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Oh, well the McDonald's I've been to in the old days would cook whatever in whatever vat was empty

 

As we all have sadly seen, it is always good to check that it is a dedicated fryer first.  You never know when Joe Schmoe Manager is being uncaring in the kitchen and doesn't give a hoot about corporate policy.

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We were in the US a couple of years ago (from Australia) and my celiac daughter ate the fries and had no problem.  People need to realise if they are saying there is no detectable gluten than they are fine to consume and they are always in dedicated fryers here in Australia and I assume the same over there.   There are ingredients that are derived from wheat but due to processing the gluten is eliminated such as wheat glucose syrup.   We will be in Hawaii in a couple of weeks and I just popped in here surprised to see the topic  "are McDonalds fries gluten free" still going two years later. 

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.....We will be in Hawaii in a couple of weeks and I just popped in here surprised to see the topic  "are McDonalds fries gluten free" still going two years later. 

It will never stop being argued.  LOL :)  Enjoy your McDonalds fries and your trip to Hawaii!!

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