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StacyA

'dedicated' Fast Food Fryers

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For the record - I'm not a paranoid person (well, maybe now I am...)

I went to a Wendy's today and asked the girl at the register if the french fries are cooked in a fryer that only cooks french fries.

At first she said yes, then she paused and said: 'Well, we're not SUPPOSED to put anything else in those two fryers except french fries, but sometimes we cook other things in there...' And she shrugged sheepishly.

So I explained that if anything that's breaded has been in the fryer, then I really shouldn't eat the fries.

It wasn't busy, so the drive thru guy who was listening in pipes up: 'Oh, then don't order fries! In fact, I won't let you!'

Two men who looked like an assistant manager and manager were also listening in, but they didn't say anything.

If a different person had been at the register, would that person have told me the fries were safe? Their official protocol at that Wendy's is that the french fryers are dedicated - but in practice, and probably depending on the shift and personnel, they aren't dedicated according to two people on duty today. (I was there at 3pm - not usually the shift when the renegade rule-breakers work.)

Like I said, I'm not a paranoid person, but now I'm sad because I think I'm going to become paranoid about 'dedicated' fryers...

Back in high school I worked at a Burger King, and we had fryers at different temperatures with different oil for fries and breaded items, and still there would be employees who would cook the wrong thing in the wrong fryer if they were in a pinch.

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At any restaurant there is always a risk of cross-contamination. Fast food places may be a higher risk. At McDonalds, the fryers are physically separated and operated by different staff. The fries and hash browns are fried in dedicated fryers at the front of the store by the window crew. Everything else is fried in the back of the store by the grill crew.


Peter

Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000. I was retested five years later and the biopsy was normal. You can beat this disease!

Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes diagnosed in March 1986

Markham, Ontario (borders on Toronto)

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator since 2007

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Also, at one Wendy's (haven't noticed at others, I saw workers putting a fried something else (can't remember what) in a rack right above the french fryers, I guess to keep warm. Strong chance of crumbs falling in. I've eaten Wendy's fries in the past and have never had suspected a reaction to them, but they're off my list now.

richard

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For the record - I'm not a paranoid person (well, maybe now I am...)

I went to a Wendy's today and asked the girl at the register if the french fries are cooked in a fryer that only cooks french fries.

At first she said yes, then she paused and said: 'Well, we're not SUPPOSED to put anything else in those two fryers except french fries, but sometimes we cook other things in there...' And she shrugged sheepishly.

So I explained that if anything that's breaded has been in the fryer, then I really shouldn't eat the fries.

It wasn't busy, so the drive thru guy who was listening in pipes up: 'Oh, then don't order fries! In fact, I won't let you!'

Two men who looked like an assistant manager and manager were also listening in, but they didn't say anything.

If a different person had been at the register, would that person have told me the fries were safe? Their official protocol at that Wendy's is that the french fryers are dedicated - but in practice, and probably depending on the shift and personnel, they aren't dedicated according to two people on duty today. (I was there at 3pm - not usually the shift when the renegade rule-breakers work.)

Like I said, I'm not a paranoid person, but now I'm sad because I think I'm going to become paranoid about 'dedicated' fryers...

Back in high school I worked at a Burger King, and we had fryers at different temperatures with different oil for fries and breaded items, and still there would be employees who would cook the wrong thing in the wrong fryer if they were in a pinch.

I would never eat at a fast food joint, period, because this is what I would expect to happen. If you go to a better quality restaurant where the staff has had some food education, this is highly unlikely to happen.

I frequent a couple of restaurants near to me, not chains or fast food places, and they have dedicated fryers. What I like is they have dedicated french fry fryers and everyone gets the gluten-free version. I'm sure if they were advertised as being gluten-free fries, people would freak out and not want to order them....you know how that goes. :D

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The only french fries I will eat out is Red Robin who have a gluten free menu and a dedicated fryer, Chick-fil-a who have dedicated fryers and every manager guarantees that the chicken is not mixed with the fries. Other than that is not worth the chance when you can make Ore-Ida and Alexi's at home!

I do not eat any fast food french fries of the main brands Wendys, BK, MCDonald's etc..

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I agree, you have to have a restaurant that understands gluten issues and has trained it's staff about the dedicated fryer. I remember way back in high school we would fry all sorts of weird food things in the fryer, never thinking about CC. Could not be further from a 16 year-old's mind. Also, I remember in a Mexican restaurant the staff normally fried the corn chips in one fryer, but after a shift they would fry the flour tortillas to make flour chips.

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I can only speak about my Mcdonalds (inside our Walmart). These versions are smaller and have a more limited menu. You can clearly see the entire kitchen and what everyone is doing.

Peter is correct. The fries station is right at the front. It is operated by the counter personel, not the "cooks". The counter people take your order, cook the fries, make the drinks & deserts, put the (already wrapped)food in bags, and give it to you. They do not cook burgers, chicken, biscuits, or anything else but fries.

My son worked there in high school. They have a very well trained staff, and run that place by the book. The book is very specific concerning how the store is operated.

I'm not concerned in the least about the dedicated fryers at my Mcdonalds. And no, I don't believe the fries contain gluten either.

best regards, lm


gluten-free 12-18-06

colonoscopy, upper GI
blood, urine, stool tests, prometheus panel
positive endoscopy/positive duodenal biopsies (severe villous atrophy, high intraepithelial lympocytes)
diagnosed celiac disease by Gastroenterologist Andrew R. Gottesman, 12-18-06

"Sobriety sucks. That's why they invented booze in the first place." Denis Leary - Rescue Me

Beware the chocolate of Chiapa

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I trust no fryers after a couple incidents involving a 'dedicated' fryer. In fact now unless I know it is a place that is specifically celiac or gluten-free aware and trained I don't generally eat out. Which is frustrating.


Undiagnosed for 20 years since first symptoms.

March 2009 - Negative Blood work

April 24, 2009 - Gluten-free

April 29, 2009 - Notably positive response to gluten-free Diet.

May 2, 2009 Dairy Free

May 6, 2009, Soy Free

May 27, 2009 Enterolab Results: Positive Anti-gliadin IgA, tTG IgA, Casein, HLA DQ2.2, HLA DQ8

June 4, 2009 Refined sugar free (except Raw Honey, pure Maple syrup)

June 29, 2009, Dad diagnosed Celiac by GI specialist via blood work and dietary response.

July 2009, Dad's gene test: double DQ8! Thanks Dad - I'll try to get you something nice for Christmas! :)

August 8, 2009 Really Soy free this time - Thanks Blue Diamond for the soy lecithin in the almond milk! :(

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5Fast food - 5 guys - they only thing on their menu - french fries.

I've been told that the fryer is not necessarily dedicated at nice restaurants too - Cantina Laredo - which lists tortilla chips on the gluten free menu. But the wait staff told me that they might throw in a wheat chip every so often. I've written Cantina Laredo, but no response.

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i am really shocked at how many celiacs eat fast food - y'all are braver than i am! i wouldn't eat at any fast food restaurant, ever - i just shudder at their menus with all the grease, fat and salt. plus, their kitchens are usually a disaster area. i really do not want 16 year olds who barely make minimum wage and have probably only worked there for about 2 days and don't know enough to wash their hands after using the bathroom touching my food, never mind trying to wrap their head around the concept of "gluten free."

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I'll eat fries at In-n-Out Burger, but there is nothing on their menu that is deep fried other than the fries, which they make on the spot from fresh potatoes. They're good about keeping the lettuce wrapped burgers away from crumbs too, if you tell them you have a wheat allergy.

Other than that, french fries are gluten roulette for me.

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Just to add to this: I've always had a good experience at fast food restaurants. And all those "sixteen year olds" have been very careful about my food and letting everyone know what I need. I've not been glutened by McD's yet, and it's a nice change to not always make my own food.

And let's not malign the fast food workers! We're all one pink slip away! :)


Gluten free: Nov. 2009

Peanut and dairy free: Dec. 2009

Rediscovered dairy: March 2010 (in small quantities)

Peanuts added back: June 2010 (in small quantities)

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Please don't assume everyone that works at a fast-food place is a stupid 16-year-old. I'm a professional, but if I ever got tossed out on the street, and was having trouble finding a job, I would not hesitate to work at a fast-food restaurant. There are many people working at fast-food places that are very over-qualified, especially in these economic times. We travel a lot with family located at least 300 miles away, and sometimes the only places available are fast-food. We tend to eat at Wendy's because of their many gluten-free options.

I am very pleased, however, to find out about McDonalds fries and hash browns. We weren't sure about McDonalds before. Thanks to everyone for all the good information.

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when i was a teenager i worked at mcdonald's, so i know whereof i speak. the kitchen was not the cleanest, most sanitary place. i also put myself through college waiting tables, and i am not maligning servers at all. in any case, i try to stay away from fast food because it is so full of sodium. if y'all have had good luck eating fast food, then that's great. i just don't like it and wouldn't trust it. my opinion.

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In the United States (and only in the United States) there is a wheat derivative used at the plant where McDonalds fries are manufactured. That derivative, along with a dairy derivative, is used to make a beef flavor. That flavor is added to the oil in which the product is partially fried before being frozen and shipped.

At the store, the frying process is completed. The oil used at the store is different from the oil used at the plant, and has no flavor.

The finished product has been independently tested by a recognized expert at the University of Nebraska. Using the most sensitive test available, no gluten was detected in the fries.


Peter

Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000. I was retested five years later and the biopsy was normal. You can beat this disease!

Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes diagnosed in March 1986

Markham, Ontario (borders on Toronto)

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator since 2007

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As an adult I worked at a fast food place. I have seen that they can not be trusted. A dedicated fryer stays dedicated until a bus load of customers arrives. Then it's just as stated: a fryer dedicated to frying whatever is needed. After all it's a fast food place.


1960s-had symptoms-could have been before but don't remember

1970s-told had colitis or nervous stomach-was given phenobarbital, felt great but still had symptoms

Me, dd and ds diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance

2000-osteopenia

2001-had stroke because of medications I was given

June 2003-saw Chiropractor who specialized in nutrition: Celiac Disease not Lactose Intolerance, went gluten free with once in awhile cheating, off soy and dairy for about 6 months

June 2003-found excellent doctor for fibromyalgia (who has found out she has Celiac Disease)

May 2006-went gluten free with NO cheating-excellent! Made all the difference in the world

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After all it's a fast food place.

Exactly my point. If you are concerned about the undetectable possible gluten level from the flavor, why on earth are you going anywhere near a restaurant, especially a fast food one...


Peter

Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000. I was retested five years later and the biopsy was normal. You can beat this disease!

Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes diagnosed in March 1986

Markham, Ontario (borders on Toronto)

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator since 2007

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Mcdonalds french fries are NOT gluten free they put a additive in the fries before cooking its not the oil you have to worry about!!!! I repeat NOT gluten free they have wheat proteins !!!

maybe this is why i wanted to gag at the smell of someone's mcdonald's fries when i was walking behind them at the mall!

haha

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I just learned something very unnerving. Called a Wendy’s restaurant and asked if they had seperate fryer for fries and all things breaded. They say “Yes”. I press the issue a little futher telling the manager my Gluten concerns to which he responds…Well we do mix all the oils together when we strain the food bits out then re-populate the separate fryer with the mixed oil.

 

Not an expert but this sounds like a real problem. Press the issue folks. Separate fryers are useless if they mix the oil together.

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