Archives for: February 2006, 21
Moods have been swinging lately on the celiac discussion boards as a result of McDonald's recent announcement that their fries are not wheat free and milk free. For about a week, no celiac knew what to think, and I think we all tried to avoid eating out entirely.
I'm afraid this may just be one example of how food allergen laws don't help celiacs. They are designed to help those with allergies, which can result in very severe reactions to the smallest trace of contamination. Celiac disease is a bit different. While absolutely avoiding anything with gluten and anything that has come in contact with gluten is a good goal, it's not entirely possible or necessary. I'm not saying we can eat pizza once a month, or even once a year, but the tendency to fret about the idea of possible gluten is dangerous. It's that line of thinking that makes many newly-diagnosed celiacs give up before they even start the gluten-free diet.
The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) now states that McDonald's fries are gluten free due to the proteins being refined out during processing. I think many individuals with food allergies and intolerances will avoid McD's anyway, some will go to other restaurants, which is just as much risk as sticking with McDonald's, if not more risk.
Cooking at home is and always will be the best option. Processed and prepared foods always run some risk of contamination or other problem. Every Blood Type Dieter tries to avoid eating out, and the good reasons for that will not change for some time. We all hope that restaurant food safety, quality, selection and disclosures improve, but that may not happen anytime soon, and it probably won't start at McDonald's. I give them a thumbs up for coming clean and complying with a labeling laws that don't apply to restaurants in the first place. That doesn't mean I'm going to have dinner there, though ;-)