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Family Sues Mcdonald's Over Undisclosed Ingredient

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It seems we can't even trust the information on websites

http://www.nbc5i.com/money/15306869/detail.html

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A North Texas family is suing McDonald's after it says the company lied about a product ingredient, NBC 5 reported.

The french fries that have made McDonald's famous are at the center of this lawsuit. The lawsuit filed in Tarrant County Thursday claims McDonald's used an ingredient that caused a customer to suffer an allergic reaction, and the victim accuses the restaurant of lying about the ingredient.

The family said they spent time looking for places with a gluten-free menu for their son and when they checked McDonald's Web site it listed the french fries and several other menu items as gluten-free.

Clay Jenkins, the family's attorney, said he believes McDonald's wasn't telling the truth.

"Their Web sites said, 'our products contain no gluten, it is safe for your children to eat this.' They touted their products as being gluten free, when in fact they had gluten, and the children suffered as a result of that," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said McDonald's later corrected its Web site, but not before three others listed in the lawsuit became sick.

Jenkins claims the parents took extra care to avoid an allergic reaction, and McDonald's didn't take enough precautions to prevent one.

"For people who are allergic, who actually go to you and inquire

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Some companies just do not get it. We did not choose to have allergies or intolerances and we don't want to be a pain in the butt when we ask questions about their products , we just do not want to get sick. You would think that they could be honest about their foods. I called a resturaunt once to see if they could accomodate my special dietary needs and they told me no but at least they were honest. Keep us updated on the case please.

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This is not good news for the Celiac Community.

If this law suit trend continues, you can look forward to no more gluten free menus in restaurants, no more gluten free labels on products and no more advancements in gluten free products. Look forward to more CYA statements that will leave you with doubt about what is consumable and what is not.

The fear of the almighty law suit will rob us of all the inroads we have made over the past several years.

McDonald's currently lists their fries as "containing gluten", WHICH HAS BEEN TESTED AS UNDETECTABLE AND SAFE FOR CELIACS TO CONSUME , as a CYA statement. It has often been recommended on this site, that consuming McD's fries is a personal choice.

:(

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This is not good news for the Celiac Community.

If this law suit trend continues, you can look forward to no more gluten free menus in restaurants, no more gluten free labels on products and no more advancements in gluten free products. Look forward to more CYA statements that will leave you with doubt about what is consumable and what is not.

The fear of the almighty law suite will rob us of all the inroads we have made over the past several years.

McDonald's currently lists their fries as "containing gluten", WHICH HAS BEEN TESTED AS UNDETECTABLE AND SAFE FOR CELIACS TO CONSUME , as a CYA statement. It has often been recommended on this site, that consuming McD's fries is a personal choice.

:(

I totally agree with you. I think as Celiacs, we need to bear the responsibility of choosing whether to risk eating out or not. There are so many variables that are totally out of our control when we eat out.

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I totally agree with you. I think as Celiacs, we need to bear the responsibility of choosing whether to risk eating out or not. There are so many variables that are totally out of our control when we eat out.

I also agree. Whenever I eat out in a restaurant, I take 100% responsibility for my health, what I choose to order and what I put in my mouth. The risk is mine.

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This is not good news for the Celiac Community.

If this law suit trend continues, you can look forward to no more gluten free menus in restaurants, no more gluten free labels on products and no more advancements in gluten free products. Look forward to more CYA statements that will leave you with doubt about what is consumable and what is not.

The fear of the almighty law suite will rob us of all the inroads we have made over the past several years.

McDonald's currently lists their fries as "containing gluten", WHICH HAS BEEN TESTED AS UNDETECTABLE AND SAFE FOR CELIACS TO CONSUME , as a CYA statement. It has often been recommended on this site, that consuming McD's fries is a personal choice.

:(

I also agree. Whenever I eat out in a restaurant, I take 100% responsibility for my health, what I choose to order and what I put in my mouth. The risk is mine.

Absolutely!!! It's sad that some people are just so money hungry and will do anything to make a buck.

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Look, from reading this board, it looks like the only foods which can be guarenteed to be 100% gluten-free are those which are grown, transported and processed in facilities which do not handle gluten. I agree that suing companies for CC makes it impossible for them to make any effort to support allergy-free eating. You cannot expect McDonalds to eliminate Cc or stop serving anything containing any possible allergen.

I agree, this only means more CYA statements and the only winners will be the lawyers.

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I think we're likely dealing with a CC issue here, and to sue over that is ridiculous. If you are a celiac who knows that you have extreme reactions to even the most trace amounts of gluten, you have no space in your life for CC - and any place that has gluten in it has the possibility of CC. If you were extraordinarily allergic to peanuts (to the point where being in the same room with them causes an anaphylactic reaction), would you choose to dine at thai restaurants? You *know* that cuisine regularly uses peanuts (finely chopped, no less), giving a good chance that someone near you would have them. It wouldn't be the restaurant's fault that they serve peanuts.

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It has been posted elsewhere that restaurants have a responsibility to serve safe food. They also have a responsibility to inform people of all ingredients in the food they serve, so people can make an informed decision about whether or not to eat the food served by the restaurant.

If I am reading this right, what McDonald's website says now is not what it said when the family checked. If I am reading this right, the family did look, and believed what was on the website. If the information was wrong, and the family ate there based on the information on the website, then McDonald's is at least partly responsible for whatever happened as a result of eating food the family was possibly mislead into believing was safe but apparently was not.

If the lawsuit is only asking for medical bills, attorney fees and mandated accurate information, then maybe it can serve as a good wake-up call to the restaurant industry about their responsibilities to their customers. If "other damages" turns out to be a few million dollars, then there is greed involved, and shame on the family. The lawsuit will indeed do more harm than good.

From what I understand about the fast-food industry, the goal is to squeeze as much profit out of as little labor and overhead as possible. Automation is their friend and special needs gum up the assembly line.

From my perspective, getting them to give us completely accurate information 100% of the time so we can make our own informed decisions is the only way we can both live in a world obsessed with things we cannot eat and still be responsible for making safe and healthy choices for ourselves.

It's a shame if companies are allowed to post inaccurate information without consequence. It leaves us to wonder who is being truthful and who is not. Which company is "on the ball" and which company can't be bothered. Which company makes customer safety a priority and which company assigns this sort of thing to somebody who is already over-burdened with responsibilities due to downsizing.

Hopefully the end result will be that the industry as a whole takes more seriously that processed foods cannot be tolerated by a growing number of people, and the industry needs to provide everyone with accurate and up-to-date information. If I am reading the gist of the lawsuit right, that is all the family was initially looking for.

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Hopefully the end result will be that the industry as a whole takes more seriously that processed foods cannot be tolerated by a growing number of people, and the industry needs to provide everyone with accurate and up-to-date information. If I am reading the gist of the lawsuit right, that is all the family was initially looking for.

While that is what the lawyer implies, that doesnt mean it accureatly explains what happenned. While it may be that a filler wasnt included on an ingredient list, or a 'natural flavor' contained a gluten ingredient which McD's didnt catch, I suspect what really happenned was CC, but the lawyer is accusing McD's of lying about ingredients, because you cant sue for CC. I could be wrong, but thats what lawyers do, exagerate to the point of dishonesty to try to convince a judge and some jurors to give a big award, the majority of which will go to . . .the lawyer.

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"From my perspective, getting them to give us completely accurate information 100% of the time so we can make our own informed decisions is the only way we can both live in a world obsessed with things we cannot eat and still be responsible for making safe and healthy choices for ourselves."

.............

Sure, Sandi, that would be great in a perfect world. But the risk is still ours.

It is similar to recommending a certain gluten free product here on this site. We can recommend and give our testimony regarding a product, but in the end it is our responsibility to make sure what we consume is safe for us and our family. In this case, it's an educated choice.

If, indeed those fries were gluten free as listed previously on their website ( and I believe that they are/were) the child got sick from cross contamination. That is our risk to assume when eating out. This as well, is an educated choice.

This is my personal belief. ;)

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If I am reading this right, what McDonald's website says now is not what it said when the family checked. If I am reading this right, the family did look, and believed what was on the website. If the information was wrong, and the family ate there based on the information on the website, then McDonald's is at least partly responsible for whatever happened as a result of eating food the family was possibly mislead into believing was safe but apparently was not.

The ingredient in question has been tested as being gluten-free. Of course, as with any laboratory test, there is a limit to how small a quantity can be detected, but that quantity is lower than what has been studied as being triggering to celiacs. We all know that plenty of people suspect/know that they react to less than that, but we have to be intelligent about the fact that anything we don't prepare ourselves from scratch has a risk. "Trust" is rather relative here, and there is NO SUCH THING as truly, 100%, trusting a restaurant.

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Everyone makes good points. The responsibility is ultimately our own, and my personal rule of thumb is, when it doubt, don't.

The news article (never unbiased, imho) doesn't tell us how long since the child had been diagnosed. Who cares? The longer since diagnosis, the longer the family would have had to learn who to trust and who not to trust. The longer they would have had to do more research about things like cc, etc. The longer they would have had to stumble upon this board, where now they can only lurk and not comment (at least about THAT!) because of the lawsuit. Heck, maybe they are lurking even now! :ph34r:

But I digress. Yes, it is the attorney's job to slant all opinions in favor of his client. If he is good enough, he can win almost any case, even if maybe he shouldn't.

Would I have sued in a similar situation? No. The information doesn't appear to be deliberately wrong or misleading. There appears to be no sign of callous neglect. No one died, or suffered life-ling impairement from this one incident. The error has been corrected.

Unfortunately, we do live in a law-suit happy environment, and the family chose this route. Personally I think the goal of having the company post accurate information could have been accomplished better by first contacting them. If that didn't work, write a letter to the local newspaper and/or an internal industry publication. Call a local TV station - negative publicity can go a long ways towards getting something done and need not involve even one lawyer. Legal action should be the last resort, not the first one.

Would I chance eating the fries. I don't think so! :blink::P

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The fundamental problem I have with a lawsuit like this, is I fear it will lead to all restaurants not providing allergen-friendly listings and complete lack of accomodation for people with food "disabilities." There is nothing that requires restaurants to provide such dining options and I'm certain there is no way to guarantee a particular dining experience will be safe. It is ALWAYS a risk to eat out no matter how safe the menu looks or how safe you think the people serving you will be.

However, that said, if a restaurant chooses to provide allergen (intolerance)-friendly options, then they better know it is more than just the ingredients that require precaution.

That said, no way in h-e-double hockey stix would I let my daughter have McFries or ANYTHING from that gluten disaster waiting to happen.

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"Trust" is rather relative here, and there is NO SUCH THING as truly, 100%, trusting a restaurant.

That's so true and it goes for everyone, not just people with Celiac.

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I love how these parents are so concerned about their children's diet/health and then they take them to McDonald's.

Good point! Let's look at the big picture here, folks! :lol:

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