Wednesday, August 22, 2007

McDonald's and Their Not-Really-Gluten-Free Fries

I'm an avid food reader who enjoys writing about food whenever I can. I'm also stepmom to an amazing 9-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism that is managed, in part, by his being on a gluten-free, casein-free diet.

The intersection of food and news is a tiny one, and this story fit the bill. McDonald's has since updated their ingredient information to reflect that their fries do, in fact, contain wheat and dairy (and, bizarrely, beef flavoring). I still won't eat there, though.

February 22, 2006

Anger sizzles over seasoning used in McDonald's fries

By Lylah M. Alphonse, Globe Staff

Kathleen Fischbach's 6-year-old son, Andy, has autism as well as celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, the protein found in wheat and many other grains. He is also sensitive to casein, a dairy protein. On his strict gluten- and casein-free diet, known as GFCF, anything with wheat or dairy in it -- bread, pasta, cheese, almost all fast food -- is off limits. But McDonald's french fries were a ''safe" treat.

Not any more.

As news broke last week that the fast-food giant has been using wheat and dairy ingredients to flavor its fries for years, people in the celiac and autistic communities were up in arms. As of Friday, at least three lawsuits had been filed against McDonald's. For those with celiac disease, even a trace of gluten can lead to severe intestinal damage; for many autistic children, gluten and casein cause hyperactive behavior and a host of gastrointestinal problems. ... [More]

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