Wednesday, January 18, 2012

McDonalds

Eating at McDonalds is a very rare guilty pleasure that is reserved exclusively for road trips and desperate situations when I am hungry and there are no other suitable safe places around. To be completely honest, I love the fries, and nothing compares to the Chicken Selects (which I think are available in the US only). The boy had McDonalds for the first time a few weeks after he turned 2 while on route to Boston, and now every time he sees a McDonalds he says he wants French Fries!

We were visiting my sister in law and family in New Jersey this past weekend, and stopped in Albany. I immediately noticed that the McFlurry table behind the cashier was covered in topping. Initially I wasn’t sure what the topping was but when I looked up and saw a sign for the all new Reeces Peanut butter McFlurry I was so frustrated. McDonalds took an active step a few years ago to pre-package all the peanuts for the sundaes. If my memory serves me correctly, this was a response to people’s complaints about cross contamination and the risk to allergic people. Also, McDonalds does have a very detailed list of every product and possible allergens that may exist. I have always felt comfortable eating at both the Canadian and American locations because they were essentially peanut free with the exception of the pre-packaged peanuts I mentioned (which I was assured do not even have cross contamination risks with the other food at the factory they are packaged at). I knew a conversation with the manager about the Reeces Peanut Butter McFlurries would go nowhere, so I didn’t bother addressing it. It did not take me long to write McDonalds a letter, and I was extremely disappointed by their response as it did not even address the issue! I wrote back today asking for someone to actually address the content of my letter and I will keep you all posted. But for now this is what I sent and received. Thoughts?


Letter I wrote:
To whom it may concern,
I am writing because I noticed that McDonalds (in Albany New York) is now serving a Peanut Butter Cup McFlurry. I along with thousands of others suffer from a life threatening Peanut Allergy. Until today, McDonalds was one of the only safe 'fast food' options for me. Years ago, a switch was made and the peanuts went from being in open bins, to individual plastic bags. My understanding is the switch was a response to cross contamination issues and at the time I was impressed with McDonalds response to the growing number of children with Peanut allergies. Today I observed there to be Reese’s peanut butter pieces all over the counter, and the cashier immediately touched boxes of food after preparing a McFlurry.

I am writing to request that McDonalds consider removing this menu item. I live in Canada, and as far as I am aware, the Canadian menu does not contain the peanut butter McFlurries. However for the thousands of children in the USA with a peanut allergy AND their entire family, eating at McDonalds will no longer be an option. These kids won't understand why one day they were having a happy meal, and the following they cannot even enter the premises. It is my hope that this request will be taken seriously as McDonalds to some degree is a part of most American kid’s lives, and children with peanut allergies already have so many limitations to deal with when it comes to eating out. Sincerely, Jennifer

Reply from McDonalds:
Hello Jennifer,
Thank you for contacting McDonald's about food safety. We appreciate receiving your comments and welcome the opportunity to share some information with you.

McDonald's potato products, such as french fries and hash browns, are prepared in the same fryers. McDonald's beef, chicken, fish and pork products are prepared in distinct and separate sections of the restaurant food preparation area. McDonald's has rigorous food preparation standards in place to ensure the food safety and quality of the products. McDonald's stringent practices deliver great tasting, high quality products our customers enjoy.

To obtain the most current, accurate and comprehensive information about allergens, as well as nutrition and ingredients, go to www.mcdonalds.com.
McDonald's has rigorous standards in place to ensure the food safety and quality at every step of our supply chain -- starting with the farm all the way to the front counter. These systems and processes enable McDonald's to serve high quality, great tasting products every day at 14,000 restaurant across the U.S.

We hope this information helps you. We look forward to serving you again under the Golden Arches. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us in the future. Again, thank you for contacting McDonald's.

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