Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fast Food French Fries-Gluten Free?

lAre fast food french fries gluten free? NO, no they are not, although there might be one that is! This may seem like a silly topic, unless you need to eat gluten free and you really want french fries. It isn't easy to find allergy information for each fast food restaurant so I included what I could find.

Here is an important lesson to learn, I was told that fast food french fries are alright to eat on a gluten free diet. What I won't do is tell you where I heard that from as I don't see the point in doing so but I thought it would have been reputable enough. Alas I didn't check the McDonald's or Wendy's websites on my own. Lesson learned, always find out for yourself. Don't just take my word for it, go on....
Please check each companies web site often because even if they make something gluten free today, it may change the next day.

 May I suggest to you, if you are reading this then you are looking for information. Please keep looking for information, don't stop here. Always check for yourself to make sure the information you are reading is correct and not just opinion, I have included the restaurants information so you can know this isn't my opinion.

May I also suggest you don't play with your health. If there is a potential for cross contamination why would you take that risk???  From all the comments people have left I can see that some people don't want to give up their fast food french fries. WHY do you do this to yourself?!!!!   Here is the point people: just because  you can't feel any intestinal pain or distress DOES NOT mean the damage isn't occurring. Why would you want to risk future disease by eating french fries from a giant company that tells you their fries are not safe for you???? 
You can make excuses for anything you want!

Here is some information for you to wrap your heads around, this was taken from here
Celiac disease is thought to involve delayed immunoreaction and patients would not generally be expected to have an immediate and violent reaction to eating wheat whereas allergic reactions of the immediate hypersensitivity type might be both immediate and violent. It is also possible that both immediate hypersensitivity and delayed reactions might be present in the same person. There is a considerable potential then for confusion between allergy and celiac disease. It may be difficult to distinguish immediate hypersensitivity reactions or allergies from celiac disease as traditionally defined, but more research on this problem is needed.
Disclaimer: this post was originally written in 2009, please keep checking companies websites for updated information.

Here is what McDonald's has to say:
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 ((may contain one of the following: 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).

Wendy's: (take note french fries isn't on this list) (they produce a gluten free list btw and french fries is NOT on that list)
Side Items:
Hot Chili Seasoning Packet
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Mandarin Oranges
Strawberry Yogurt Squeezerz

Arby's didn't have their information in a format I could copy so I am including the link but the gist of the matter is you cannot eat their french fries if you need to eat gluten free.

Jack In The Box: Natural Cut Fries Potatoes, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil), Salt, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate (to promote color retention), Dextrose. Cooked in Frying Shortening. OR Potatoes, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (Soybean Oil and/or Cottonseed Oil), and/or Vegetable Oil (Canola, Soybean, and/or Sunflower Oils), Salt, Dextrose, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate (to Maintain Natural Color). Cooked in Frying Shortening

Seasoned Curly Fries Potatoes, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (Soybean Oil And/Or Canola Oil), Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Salt, Modified Food Starch, Dextrin, Corn Meal, Cornstarch, Corn Flour, Garlic Powder, Leavening (Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Spices, Onion Powder, Spice and Coloring, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Dextrose, Sugar, Artificial Color. Cooked in Frying Shortening. Contains Wheat

Burger King, didn't list french fries on their allergy menu that I could see but they did mention this: French Fries are fried on in a fryer designated for French Fries only. This is important info because one of the issues with fries is when they are cooked in a shared fryer.


All about HR said...

Poor, poor Travis. His love for French fries at McD's will have to come to an end. I'll have to let him know about Wendy's though cause that will be nice when I don't want to cook something on the weekends! :D I really appreciate all the work you put into informing us about gluten-free!! Thank you!! :D

Anonymous said...

The gluten in McDonald's ff is at a non-detectable level and they are safe to eat for celiacs.

bakingbarb said...

I am posting the FACTS. It is up to each person to CHOOSE if it is non-detectable for themselves. They cause me a problem and I was told they were fine to eat by other Celiacs. I prefer the facts and then I will make my own decisions. I don't like people telling me what is and isn't safe for me as though it’s the truth. Please don't post on here as though it's safe for everyone because it isn't, especially if you aren't going to back it up with your name!

All about HR said...

There is no such thing as a "non-detectable level" for a Celiac, it will either bother right away, days later, or when you are old and gray and can't digest anything anymore.

baobab said...

I went to McDonald's today, knowing that the Gluten Intolerance Group had tested their french fries and found them to be gluten-free. I got a large french fries, and that was the only thing I got. After eating them, my tummy did not hurt at all. However, I feel really tired and in an altered mental state, like I'm high or something. For me, it was a level of gluten that didn't hurt my stomach, but gave me brain fog.

bakingbarb said...

Baobab, thank you for posting your experience. It is good to know it isn't "all in my head"!
This is why I posted this info, even though it can be a gluten free item with gluten we have to be ever vigilant.

Anonymous said...

Food for thought about McD's (or any other fast food french fries) - I believe that pies are cooked in the same oil as the french fries...

Anonymous said...

Cross contamination is the biggest problem with any of the fast food places. Workers are not trained well enough (or do not care enough) to make sure this doesn't happen. I have ordered something before that was supposed to be gluten free to find an onion ring in the bottom of the bowl. I just don't chance fast food places any more.

bakingbarb said...

I have to agree that cross contamination is a huge issue with these places. I very rarely eat anything from fast food places anymore. Only when I absolutely have to.

Chris said...

It is my understanding that different Celiacs have different tolerances to gluten. I have eaten McDonald's fries with no worries, but it is an "enter at your own risk" situation.

Anonymous said...

FYI, Wendy's doesn't list fries on the GF meny because they're worried about cross contamination in the fryer - the fries themselves do not contain gluten.

GF menu: "Natural-Cut Fries may be cooked in the same oil as Boneless Chicken Wings, Crispy Chicken Patty, Crispy Chicken Nuggets, Spicy Chicken Nuggets (where available) & Fish Fillets (where available), which contain a wheat allergen."

Ingredients List: "Natural-Cut Fries: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following oils:
canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, corn), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (to
maintain natural color). Cooked in Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil,
hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor, citric acid [preservative], dimethylpolysiloxane
[anti-foaming agent]). Cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain: Wheat, Egg,
Milk, and Fish (where available).

Seasoned with Sea Salt."

We eat Wendy's fries regularly with no issues. I'm the most sensitive one in a house of 3 Celiacs and I've been known to react to cross contamination quite easily but the fries don't bother me.

bakingbarb said...

Thank you for the information on Wendy's fries. I was at our local Wendys a few days ago and was told in no uncertain terms could I eat any fries no matter what the ingredients are. EVERYTHING is cooked in the same fryer.
It just isn't worth it to me to risk a reaction. But to each his/her own.

ellen said...

I worked at McDonald's once and the fries and pies were cooked in the same vats. It wasn't a matter of laziness or not caring, it was what us minimum wage employees were told to do. The number of pies cooked in comparison to the number of fries cooked was very minimal. Try and experiment. Just learned my preschooler needs to avoid wheat and are trying to figure out what her body will tolerate. McDonald's included.

bakingbarb said...

Ellen, thank you for the perspective coming from someone who worked at McDonald's.
It is a great deal of work to keep your little one free from gluten but you have been entrusted with a life, one that relies on you to make the choices. I am amazed at all the great Mom's that work so hard for their kids.
Keep on keeping your little one safe from gluten.

Dominique said...

My gf daughter ate McDonalds fries yesterday and vomited (her Dad didn't know about fast food french fries being a potentially gluten contaminated food.) Trace amounts of gluten are still gluten, my father was savagely ill after licking sealed envelopes and stamps on the monthly bills once, then we discovered that there is gluten in glues & adhesives.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that In-N-Out Burger's fries are totally gluten free. I worked there for 5 years. The only things that go in the fryers are fresh-cut potatoes and the only the seasoning that goes on the fries is salt and pepper. So if you live near an INO then go ahead and get some fries!!!

bakingbarb said...

Dominique I am so sorry your daughter went through that. Not only is it difficult to know where to eat at times, people that say it's safe doesn't help any!!! I ate french fries at McDonald's because lots of gluten free people told me I could - I got sick a lot. Then I did my research and wrote this.

Anonymous thank you for the tip. It seems it's time for me to write a new post on gluten free french fries.

Anonymous said...

I had a small McDonald's fry 2 days ago and I had a reaction to it - including fatigue, tingly & hurting feet... All my reactions to gluten. My daughter who is also gluten intolerant had fries and she ended up with diarrhea. :( we live in Delaware.