McDonald's says new tests reveal that its fries are gluten and allergen free

Added on 22 Feb, 2006 . There are .

With McDonald's facing a public relations nightmare, not to mention a lot of potential lawsuits, the fast food giant has announced that new tests reveal that its fries are "gluten and allergen free".

After last week changing the information on its website to indicate that their fries contained wheat and milk, McDonald's came under intense attack from consumers suffering with wheat and gluten (coeliac disease) allergies. (Read our news item)

McDonald's senior vice president Jack Daly said in a statement, "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."

This new information would appear to make the already filed lawsuits obselete. However the whole issue has raised questions about potential legal backlashes limiting the type of nutritional claims that companies will make in the future, if they are not legally required to do so.

Another question raised is about the quantity and form that allergen derived ingredients are present in in order for a product to be classed as containing those allergens.

The Celiac Spruce Association (CSA), a non-profit support group for sufferers in the US, has announced that it does not support the lawsuits brought against McDonald's. Their reason, that if more restaurants are open to lawsuits then what incentive would there be to offer gluten free menus or nutritional information to customers.

With the current increase in the US of using litigation against food companies it is possible that more products will see cautionary information on the packaging, indicating "possible" allergen presence, thereby reducing available food products even further.