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Just One Of The Many Reasons I Do Not Do Fast Food...

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My husband wanted to try an experiment for me at our local McDonalds. For several reasons I just do not like fast food. Never did, never will. Anyway, he is a curious guy and drove to M's. We have heard we should not trust M's in our town and he wanted to find out why. The following is a paraphrase of his conversation:

"Can you tell me whether your French fries contain gluten?"

"Yes, Sir, they do."

"Oh, really? What do they have on them?"

"They are a starch."

"Yes, I know they are a starch. Do they have any other ingredients in addition to the potatoes?"

"What is gluten, Sir? Is it like salt?"

(This is where my husband proceeded to explain in very plain English what it was...).

"Do you mean you want salt on your French fries?"

"No, I am just wondering whether they contain gluten. My wife is allergic to it." (He did not want to have to go into the whole celiac thing for obvious reasons.)

"We only have one kind of French fries, Sir. Do you want salt on them?"

"Yes, I know you have only one kind of French fries. Do they have any flour or breading? Any wheat?" (Knowing they didn't but at this point he was not taking any chances and was curious to see what she would say.)

"Let me get the Manager."

Manager arrives...

"Sir, what is gluten?"

He explained.

"Potatoes are vegetables. They have starch and we fry them." OK, my husband is NOT 6 years old. He did not attend university seven years for nothing!

"Yes, I know that. Do they have flour or breading?"

She looks at a fry and frowns.

"It doesn't look like they have wheat on them. They are a starch. I think it changes into sugar or something. Do you want salt on them?"

"And the fryer is JUST for fries?"

"I think so. Yes. No other starches in it."

"How long have you been the Manager?"

"Six years."

Just how on earth do you trust places like this? :huh:

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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks for the chuckle! Now the new McD's expression is apparently "Do you want salt on them?" Oh, boy did I get a laugh out of this.

Thanks!

-Daisy

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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks for the chuckle! Now the new McD's expression is apparently "Do you want salt on them?" Oh, boy did I get a laugh out of this.

Thanks!

-Daisy

Me, too! Glad you saw the humour in it. My husband was both amused and exasperated. :lol: At least the girl remained polite! :D

This is typical of what our town is like when it comes to knowledge and awareness of gluten intolerance and celiac. Zip. Zilch. Zero. <_<

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I hear your frustration.

On the other side of the debate, McDonalds is only a little less regimented than the army. Every step of every process is clearly specified in the operating procedures, and those are rigorously enforced every step of the way. Even if the manager did not know WHY things have to be done a certain way, she almost certainly knew what that way was and that failure to follow it would cost her her job.

Dedicated fryers? - yes.

Separate section of the store? - yes.

Different operators for the fryers? - yes.

Risk of cross-contamination? - yes, but comparatively low for fast food.

My experience with McD has been good.

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Your story reminds of the time (many years ago) when I was in the McD's drive-through to pick up a milkshake for my daughter. When I got to the window to pay, I was told that the cash register wasn't working. She told me how much I owed, and I gave her a five. After a moment of frowning, she turned to me holding several dollar bills and a fistful of change....and said, "Take what you think your change should be." I kid you not!

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Wow! It's good that people like this have opportunities to work, though.

That is true. :)

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I don't trust them at all. First they led us to believe that the fries were vegetarian when they were frying them in beef fat! Then they didn't disclose the wheat and milk that are in the oil. And yes they are in there but I don't want to get into that old debate. Might be safe for a celiac but might not be safe for someone like my daughter who has a wheat allergy. If we do get anything there it is just a drink or a pack of apples. Nothing else.

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I don't trust them at all. First they led us to believe that the fries were vegetarian when they were frying them in beef fat! Then they didn't disclose the wheat and milk that are in the oil. And yes they are in there but I don't want to get into that old debate. Might be safe for a celiac but might not be safe for someone like my daughter who has a wheat allergy. If we do get anything there it is just a drink or a pack of apples. Nothing else.

The beef 'flavoring' that McD's puts in the fries (because they can't fry in beef fat any longer) contains wheat starch. I don't eat there anymore because of it.

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Thanks for the laugh! I just read the whole dialogue out to my (non-Celiac) husband and his response was "well of course no one at McDonalds knows anything. Why on earth would any celiac even try to eat there!"

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Thanks for the laugh! I just read the whole dialogue out to my (non-Celiac) husband and his response was "well of course no one at McDonalds knows anything. Why on earth would any celiac even try to eat there!"

It is quite funny, isn't it? My husband just loves little experiments like that. He sort of feels like a spy. :D I haven't eaten at a McD's for at least 12 years (never liked it, anyway) and especially now would not trust it one little bit!

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Your story reminds of the time (many years ago) when I was in the McD's drive-through to pick up a milkshake for my daughter. When I got to the window to pay, I was told that the cash register wasn't working. She told me how much I owed, and I gave her a five. After a moment of frowning, she turned to me holding several dollar bills and a fistful of change....and said, "Take what you think your change should be." I kid you not!

That is unreal! :lol:

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If the manager ended up there for whatever reason, 10 more years of experience won't make a diff.

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I have to agree with Peter on this one. As long as they're frying the fries where they're supposed to, I know that they're likely gluten-free (with some chance of CC). That's all I need to know.

Before I was diagnosed with celiac, I had worked in the restaurant business, earned a bachelor's at a highly ranked university, and was working as a reporter for a newspaper and wire service. I'm not dumb (although I'm no genius). But when my doctor announced I could no longer consume gluten, I drew a complete blank. I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn't know, for instance, that wheat was commonly found in soy sauce and I honestly had never thought about what pasta was made from.

richard

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It just goes to show how careful a person needs to be.

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I hear your frustration.

On the other side of the debate, McDonalds is only a little less regimented than the army. Every step of every process is clearly specified in the operating procedures, and those are rigorously enforced every step of the way. Even if the manager did not know WHY things have to be done a certain way, she almost certainly knew what that way was and that failure to follow it would cost her her job.

Dedicated fryers? - yes.

Separate section of the store? - yes.

Different operators for the fryers? - yes.

Risk of cross-contamination? - yes, but comparatively low for fast food.

My experience with McD has been good.

I agree with you Peter and I don't worry about them either. They aren't trained chefs but they sure as heck are trained to follow procedures precisely. Thinking not encouraged ;) That conversation is hilarious though and made for an amusing read!

I always watch to see what happens with my fries in their journey from the fryer to me, but so long as I can see that dedicated fryer right there (they are always in sight in my experience) and I don't worry.

Occasionally I check to confirm they have a dedicated fryer. I never mention gluten. I simply ask " do you cook anything else in that fryer" and they reply with a simple "no" (one time the person asked if I were worried about gluten, the other time if I was vegegarian)

I'd expect a chef to know about gluten, but fast food staff are more factory workers than chefs. At least they are open about their factory-line preparation. I get annoyed by places that act like they are proper restaurants, but are really just re-heating pre-prepared food.

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The beef 'flavoring' that McD's puts in the fries (because they can't fry in beef fat any longer) contains wheat starch. I don't eat there anymore because of it.

They are gluten free in Canada. I haven't actually eaten any myself since going gluten free but I may try them some day.

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I'd expect a chef to know about gluten, but fast food staff are more factory workers than chefs. At least they are open about their factory-line preparation. I get annoyed by places that act like they are proper restaurants, but are really just re-heating pre-prepared food.

Eggsactly :rolleyes: We go to this snooty golfcourse place for brunch that charges an arm and a leg, and my sister and I both order bacon and eggs and hash browns and mushrooms. The plates come out and we look at the hash browns and they are little formed triangles :wacko: - no straggly little hashy pieces. We look at each other and I call the waitress back and ask if there is gluten in the potatoes. She says she will check. Sure enough, straight out of a box from some factory or another, all neatly molded with flour, probably tossedin a non-dedicated fryer to boot :blink: Arrgh!!!

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Eggsactly :rolleyes: We go to this snooty golfcourse place for brunch that charges an arm and a leg, and my sister and I both order bacon and eggs and hash browns and mushrooms. The plates come out and we look at the hash browns and they are little formed triangles :wacko: - no straggly little hashy pieces. We look at each other and I call the waitress back and ask if there is gluten in the potatoes. She says she will check. Sure enough, straight out of a box from some factory or another, all neatly molded with flour, probably tossedin a non-dedicated fryer to boot :blink: Arrgh!!!

Oh, that's crummy! (ha, that word is an even bigger insult in this forum). It's not like they aren't easy to make, if you wanted the premade ones you'd buy them frozen. And even the frozen ones I get here are gluten free (by ingredient, they don't make claims)

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re: the dedicated fryer

There's one practice that some McDonald's may do that can make the dedicated fryer contaminated.

Some McDonald's will filter and reuse their oil for a couple days before starting over with completely new oil. Now, some McDonald's have dedicated storage at night for the oils from their different fryers. However, some store all their oil together, contaminating it all, and then pour it back into the 'dedicated' fryers the next day when they reuse it.

I heard this rumor a while back and checked it out in the nearest city. First two McDonald's I spoke to reused their oil and had separate storage for their dedicated fryers.

Third one reused its oil and stored all the oil it was reusing, from every fryer, in one container only, so the dedicated fryer was totally pointless for that one. <_<

I do not know if there is a standard practice for oil storage in this case or not, so it could very well be that the McDonald's I spoke to wasn't adhering to the rules. But considering I had heard of this practice from someone in another state, and it's still holding true in my state as well, I wouldn't think it's an isolated incident. Probably worth asking about whether they reuse oil, and their oil storage set up.

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According to McDonald's website, the flavoring on their fries contains wheat. My wife, who has celiac has been able to eat them in the past but now stays away from them after seeing this.

Copied from their site:

French Fries:

Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola 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).

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The "wheat-in-McDonalds-fries" question is probably the most debated one here. Independent testing has failed to find detectable gluten in the finished product. Search the board for the discussions if you are interested.

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Our French Fries at McDonalds in Australia are different!!

Potato, Canola Oil & Sunflower Oil, Dextrose, Mineral Salt (450), Antioxidant (320).

OR

Potato, Canola Oil Blend, Antioxidant (320), Food Acid (330), Antifoam (900a), Dextrose.

Note: French Fries are cooked in canola oil blend, salt added.

I have never had a problem eating fries from Maccas here in Australia! :D

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Our French Fries at McDonalds in Australia are different!!

Potato, Canola Oil & Sunflower Oil, Dextrose, Mineral Salt (450), Antioxidant (320).

OR

Potato, Canola Oil Blend, Antioxidant (320), Food Acid (330), Antifoam (900a), Dextrose.

Note: French Fries are cooked in canola oil blend, salt added.

I have never had a problem eating fries from Maccas here in Australia! :D

So just what is "canola oil blend"?

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