Tuesday, February 21, 2006

McDonald's: Tests Prove Fries Are Gluten-Free

Dr. Steven Taylor give McDonald's fries the all clear on gluten

Updating you on this story I brought to you a few days ago, an astute reader of my blog e-mailed me today to inform me that McDonald's had removed the information from their allergens page regarding dairy and wheat products in the French fries as was previously indicated.

After investigating this for myself, I discovered my reader was correct. The check marks beside milk and wheat on the allergens page were no longer there. So then I started looking for a press release statement from McDonald's that might explain why this information was suddenly removed.

You will recall that McDonald's senior VP of communications Jack Daly said in a press release on Friday that they would have their French fries tested by Dr. Steven L. Taylor of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska.

"When we have the additional information, we will make it available," Daly noted in the release.

Well, apparently the results of that test came back negative for gluten in the McDonald's French fries as Daly breathes a huge sigh of relief.

In a public media statement posted at the McDonald's web site on Monday entitled, "McDonald's Fries Are 'Gluten and Allergen Free,' According To Expert," Daly explained that McDonald's was aware of the concerns people had regarding the gluten content of their French fries in "the Celiac community and others with food allergies" and the company wanted to address those as soon as possible.

"That is why we are eager to provide them with the most factual information we can," Daly said in the new press release posted at the McDonald's web site on Monday.

To that end, Daly remarked that Dr. Taylor's results were in and all is well again in regards to the claims that McDonald's French fries are gluten-free.

“Scientific evaluation 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, has confirmed again that our fries are gluten free and allergen free," he remarked.

Firing back at critics, Daly ended his press release with a message for them.

“Based on this analysis, we believe the lawsuits filed are without legal merit,” he concluded.

Currently there are still three lawsuits filed against McDonald's over the allegation that wheat and dairy products are contained in their French fries from the following parties:

- Mark and Theresa Chimiak from West Palm Beach, FL
- Nadia Sugich from Los Angeles, CA
- Debra Moffatt from Lombard, IL

For now, all three lawsuits are scheduled to go on despite the test results released by McDonald's. Additionally, it remains to be seen how confident people following a gluten-free diet will be with purchasing McDonald's French fries for their family members with celiac disease in light of this new information.

All of this back and forth from McDonald's of "yes, they do have gluten" followed by "no, our fries don't contain gluten" kinda begs the question: Why say ANYTHING until you knew for sure?!

This really made McDonald's look silly and irresponsible if you ask me. All they had to do was stick with the information they believed was true (that their French fries were gluten-free) and then discreetly conduct the tests with Dr. Taylor and release the results to the public afterwards.

The whole dog and pony game they played last week trying to appease the public by stating there was milk and wheat products in their fries makes me suspicious of what McDonald's is up to. This was a public relations nightmare for them and has made them look utterly foolish in the process.

They should have just kept their mouths shut about the issue until they could verify the allegations that were being made against them. That would have been the BEST course of action for them to take.

You can contact McDonald's about the new test results by e-mailing Anna Rozenich at or Dr. Steven Taylor can be reached via e-mail as well at


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