Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dairy Derivatives in McDonald's Fries

McDonald's has always claimed that it had no dairy in its fries. Good.

McDonald's has decided to disclose the presence of common allergens in its foods in response to the new labeling laws even though it doesn't legally have to. Good.

Oops. It turns out that they've slapped a milk label on those dairy-free fries. Bad.

Here's the story as it is being reported by the Associated Press.

McDonald’s director of global nutrition, Cathy Kapica, said its potato suppliers remove all wheat and dairy proteins, such as gluten, which can cause allergic reactions. But the flavoring agent in the cooking oil is a derivative of wheat and dairy ingredients, and the company decided to note their presence because of the FDA’s stipulation that potential allergens be disclosed.

“We knew there were always wheat and dairy derivatives in there, but they were not the protein component,” she said. “Technically there are no allergens in there. What this is an example of is science evolving” and McDonald’s responding as more is learned, she said.

I can't find any mention of what exact derivative of milk is used in the fries, although I'll update this report as soon as it's revealed – if ever. However, even if the flavoring agent is lactose, the amount that enters a particular batch of fries is probably way too small to create symptoms in any but the most extremely susceptible lactose intolerant individual.

For those with milk allergies, the situation is a bit more complicated. No protein component should mean that they are safe for most people with a mild allergy. Those with serious anaphylactic-potential allergies know that even a few molecules of remaining protein can trigger an attack, so they should now avoid these fries entirely.

The same holds true for those with celiac disease and other gluten intolerances.

Three cheers for the new Food Labeling Law for forcing these disclosures. More information on the law, along with a link to the bill on the FDA site, can be found at Major Change In Labeling Law Scheduled for January 1.

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