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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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.

Friday, May 25, 2007

McDonald's Labeling Lawsuit

When you see a headline like Family Accuses McDonald's Of Failing To List All Ingredients - Boy Had Allergic Reaction After Eating French Fries, I'm sure you'd get scared if you too had a child who was anaphylactic to dairy.

Early last year, Ryan's mom, Judy Gray, gave him McDonald's french fries, thinking they were milk free, but that same day he went into anaphylactic shock.

Several important points here.

1) McDonald's has since greatly improved its online food lists to warn of all potential allergens. Go to Nutrition Info page for the full listing.

You'll see that French Fries are now giving warnings:
French Fries:
Potatoes, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor (wheat and milk derivatives)*, citric acid (preservative), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent)), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil ((may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated corn oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent). *CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK (Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.)

Natural beef flavor contains milk. Who knew? I bet a lot of those who try to keep kosher wouldn't think of it.

2) The article says "The lawsuit claims that Ryan's exposure to milk hurt his chances of outgrowing his allergies. Doctors said that while prolonged exposure could aggravate the allergy, it is very unlikely that a small amount could affect his chances of outgrowing it." What the doctors say certainly sounds more plausible to me. You are unlikely to permanently damage your child by a chance feeding of french fires.

For both those reasons, don't get as scared by the headline as the article wanted you to be.

Now, is McDonald's culpable for not put up warnings earlier? That I don't know, and I certainly don't have enough facts to judge. The lawyer states this is one of many lawsuits nationwide. Maybe so. Maybe they have scared McDonald's into doing the right thing. In that case I'm all for them. As long as they don't start throwing around false claims to scare you themselves. We don't need any more fear. We need information. What McDonald's is providing now is a good start.

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