I'm beginning to feel sorry for McDonald's. NOT!
The world-famous restaurant with the golden arches isn't having a very good track record this year of telling the truth about what's in their French fries.
First, they were caught red-handed last week underestimating the amount of trans fats is their popular carb-loaded sticks.
Now, this Palm Beach Post story says they're in trouble again for misrepresenting the allergens contained in their fries and an upset parent and an activist vegan have filed lawsuits against them because of it.
Mark and Theresa Chimiak from West Palm Beach, Florida claim in their lawsuit filed on Friday that their little 5-year-old daughter named Annalise, who has celiac disease and is not allowed to consume anything that contains dairy or wheat products, became violently sick with complications from her gluten intolerance which affects her autoimmune system in addition to suffering from epileptic seizures and stomach ulcers after their family doctor told them the source of the gluten she consumed was the French fries from McDonald's.
"The family had checked and double-checked to make sure this product was safe for their child," the family attorney told reporters on Friday. "They were assured by McDonald's Web site and local restaurant managers that the product was gluten-free."
The parents are seeking damages for their medical expenses, pain and suffering and other punitive damages.
Meanwhile, this ABC News story is about a proposed class action lawsuit from a known vegan named Nadia Sugich from Los Angeles, California who believes McDonald's purposefully misled people by not disclosing the dangerous and even immoral ingredients listed in their French fries.
"She would have never purchased or consumed the french fries if she had known they contain dairy and were not vegan," Sugich's attorney asserted on Thursday, who said this news has devastated her client who is a long-term vegan.
Sugich is looking for compensation for anyone who wants to be a part of her class-action lawsuit to be reimbursed for every single McDonald's French fries purchase they have ever made because of this gross and negligent misrepresentation by McDonald's.
Up until just recently, McDonald's has claimed their French fries were completely safe for people who must adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. But now they admit the cooking oil used to fry them contain both dairy and wheat ingredients to help flavor them. A quick look at their allergens page on their web site shows the updated information that denotes an "X" next to both milk and wheat for the French fries.
McDonald's senior VP of communications Jack Daly said in an e-mail response to the media on Friday that they haven't had time to "review the case" yet and could not publicly comment on it, but...
"However, we can tell you that we are in the middle of conducting research to determine that our fries have no gluten," he said. "The testing is being conducted by one of the world's leading experts on gluten sensitivity and allergenicity, Dr. Steven Taylor of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program of the University of Nebraska."
He added, "When we have the additional information, we will make it available."
We'll be waiting on that announcement, Mr. Daly! Gluten intolerance is serious business, buddy. You don't mess around with making claims about gluten unless you are 100% absolutely certain what you say is accurate and truthful to the best of your knowledge.
If wheat or dairy products have ended up in the French fries after you said they were not, then McDonald's is in a whole heap of trouble. Many of those who suffer from this awful celiac disease are children who have parents freaking out about what they allow their kids to put in their mouth. And for good reason, too! It's life threatening in some instances.
This should be a HUGE wake-up call to the restaurant industry -- MAKE SURE YOUR GLUTEN-FREE MENU IS AS ACCURATE AND COMPREHENSIVE AS POSSIBLE! Otherwise, you too could be facing legal action against you for making false claims.
But there is some GOOD NEWS for people looking for accurate information about products to help people with celiac disease. I have found an EXCELLENT resource for parents and people looking for GENUINE gluten-free products to eat and enjoy with certainty that they will be okay for their condition.
It's called GLUTENSMART.COM, featuring a complete line of products designed specifically for your lifestyle free of wheat and dairy products. As their slogan says, "We're not just gluten-free ... we're gluten smart!
Here is just a sampling of the bestselling items at GlutenSmart.com:
Mrs. Mays Crunch Snacks
Arrico Cookie Bars
Crunchy Apple Soy Rocks Rocks Bar
Ener-G Gluten Free Sliced Breads
EnviroKidz Organic Vanilla Animal Cookies
There's MUCH more to find at GlutenSmart.com! They even have this coupon to help you if you are ready to stock up on the fine selection of food products for that gluten-free loved one in your life. If you are ready to place an order and start surfing around for the best gluten-free products available, then click here to register. ENJOY and let me knw what you think about GlutenSmart.com!
As for McDonald's, why don't we all just send them an e-mail using this online form to express our sincere disappointment with them regarding the trans fats and now the wheat and dairy products found in their French fries.
Tell them they need to act more responsibly as a food company or else they should close their doors for business! If that ever happens, then I KNOW the world is coming to an end!
2-19-06 UPDATE: This Washington Post story today adds yet ANOTHER lawsuit to the mix from a lady named Debra Moffatt who seeks damages for the pain she suffered after eating McDonald's French fries. She too has celiac disease.
When will the end of these lawsuits come? Mr. Daly, how about getting those test results about gluten in your fries before your company goes bankrupt defending itself against consumer fraud?! You had better HURRY IT UP!
2-21-06 UPDATE: McDonald's released the test results conducted for gluten in their French fries today and claim now that they are gluten-free. I wish they'd make up their minds!