August 22, 2010


McDonald’s Fries Part 2

Last week I accidentally deleted 50 blog comments (don’t ask)  including the comments on the McDonald’s French fries post.  I do still have those comments in my email so I thought I would compile them in a new post along with comments I received on Facebook and one by email.

It’s interesting to see the contrast in opinions and experiences.  I think it is important for each person to make their own decision based on good information.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there.  It is also important to check with individual restaurants on their practices such as using a shared fryer. 

 Blog Comments:

Thanks for this! I've been wondering about it for a while. It's rare that I eat fast food, but as you said, it's unavoidable sometimes. So thanks!  --GF Miel

How do you typically feel after eating McDonald's fries? The other day I heard Burger King's fries are o.k., so I quickly went to BK after a year of not eatingfries. I did not feel too great the next day. :( Thanks for sharing your McDonald's experience   --Becca

So very well said! Great post!  --Amy Leger

I generally have problems after eating McDonalds - but I've always assumed it was from the fat, not the possible gluten. I guess I just always assumed FF's were gluten-free, thanks for this article!   --Jen

This has been such a big debate over the gf boards. Each person has to decide what is best for them. I prefer to eat hot foods, I don't feel like I have eaten if I don't eat something hot. I used to go to MD's and get a chicken casear salad with fries. Then I read on's post that the chicken breast have wheat on them. I was DEVASTATED. It is easy for me and affordable, especially since I have 6 children to feed. As long as there is no cross-contamination, due to the staff or my kids, the fries have been fine for me.  Chick-fil-a's chicken breast salad is gf and so are the fries. It is more expensive, but the ONLY option for me when I am on the go and on a budget.
 --Happiness is where it is

McDonald's is HORRIBLE if you can't have gluten. Every single thing there--other than ice cream--contains wheat. Fries, grilled chicken, the fruit and nut salad, bbq sauce...EVERYTHING. I cannot eat there.   --April

Linda, I have eaten McDonald's French fries before without problems and I am super sensitive. I've also eaten their burgers occasionally with no bun, but on a few occasions I've gotten sick immediately. I suspect that if the fries were the culprit, it was because of cross contamination OR the fries being cooked in the same oil as breaded fish. McDonald's says they use a dedicated fryer, but I have read of folks working at McDonald's saying this is not always the case, so I suppose it can depend on the location, the day, etc. Not good. More than likely when I've gotten sick, I suspect the burger was the culprit. Once I actually saw them take my burger off a bun and put it in the box to serve it to me. Clearly, one doesn't always get to see one's food being prepared. Even if that doesn't happen, there's the chance of cross contamination on the grill, spatula, etc. Despite that, sometimes when on the road, it's the only game in town and I've done it with super emphasis on being allergic. Sometimes you will see "allergy" come up on the screen, but most times not.
Gluten-Free Living is an excellent publication. I love their well-researched articles!

Super awesome post. Great information. My daughter and I know pretty much right away if we digested gluten. We never had issues with McDonaldsFries. We have also ordered Hamburgers with no bun. We have also seen employees just take the bun off of an already made burger in the back and give it to you. Some locations have a whole separate station to put the buns on, others just bring the bun to the grill which would be bad. Most times we just get salad and fries. Its the fries we are really after anyway :-).

Thanks to everyone for their kind words about Gluten-Free Living. In each issue we try to bring you the best information about all kinds of gluten-free topics. We have written about McDonald's fries several times and agree with the points Linda makes.  --Amy Ratner

The fries at McDonalds are NOT gluten-free. They finally started using fries that aren't dusted with wheat, but they are not using dedicated friers, at least where I live. You have to check with each individual McDonalds to see if they are using dedicated friers, otherwise you'll get cross-contamination from the chicken mcnuggets and other things.   Burger King, however, does have gluten-free fries. They now use dedicated friers and I have yet to get sick from eating their fries. If you get a craving forfries while on the road, I would suggest going to Burger King.  --Sara

I drove from Calgary, Alberta to San Francisco to Vegas, to New Orleans, to Myrtle Beach, to Washington DC and back to Ontario. Over 8000 miles in 20 odd days.   Guess what breakast was most days?  McD's Hashbrowns. Lunch, often Fries. We had fantastic dinners along the way but breakfast needed to be quick.  I didn't have a single problem with eating there. I'm sure you can imagine what that trip would have been like had I gotten sick.  I knew they initially contained gluten but that there was none present in the final product and that was good enough for me.  --Kathleen

To be honest, gluten-free or not, I wouldn't eat McDonald's fries (or anything for that matter!)! My friend has had a box of fries and a plain burger in his basement for the last 80 days, and they haven't changed. Haven't moulded. Haven't smelled. Haven't had bugs. Haven't had anything happen to them...which to me is a little startling, considering they're supposed to be edible! Did you know that there's an anti-foaming agent in the fries? As well as a chemical that helps them retain their golden colour...permanently? Gluten-free or not, I don't think I'd want them not-rotting in my belly! But that's just my 2 cents worth! --Alison

Facebook Comments:

I've gotten sick a few times after eating a small fries at McDonalds - no idea if it's gluten or not that caused it - so I pretty much just avoid it altogether now. I have the same problem with Chipotle, which is SO disappointing. I love Chipotle, but I more often than not find myself sick after ordering a burrito bowl there (which is supposed to be GF).  

Sometimes it is the only option when I am out. It is by far, the healthiest option, but when you need to eat hot food to feel like you ate something, there is nothing else besides Chick-fil-a that is fast and affordable. I don't like BK's fries, even before I was gf.

We eat very little "fried" or oily food and when we do, we get sick too. So it may just be that. Even greasy pizza, GF, will still make us sick.  --Robbin

I stopped eating them. Not sure if they were making me sick or if it was something else. I know a lot of Celiacs eat the fries. I guess many McDonalds use fryers that are dedicated to just the fries, some do not. If they don't, then you...  --Jessica

I called several fast food places to see what was safe a year ago when we went on this diet. I was told tha tmcdonald's dips their fries in wheat before freezing them and shipping them to the restuarant. Burger King does not, but most fast food places don't have dedicated friers for the fries anyway so cross contamination's an issue. arby's fries are safe when they have a dedicated frier (but only 50% of the arby's taht i've stopped at had one).  --Valerie

I do eat McD's fries with no problem and as far as Arby's their homestyle fries and potatoe cakes are safe but stay away from the curly fries. Something in the seasoning, plus there are some Arby's that fry all the fries together in the same oil so that would cause cross contamination. I always check before ordering fries any where I go!!

McDonald's fries have wheat flour on them. You didn't know that? I didn't even read the article yet but wanted to comment. My daughter got really sick after eating them, so I checked the ingredients at the McDonald's website and they are coated with wheat flour. Who would've thought? I was shocked...I had just assumed that fries would be gluten free. Burger King's are fine.  --April

McD's fries are *not* GF.. we have better luck other places  --Laurie

I eat Chick-fil-a french fries and do not get sick. That is the only place I eat them; other places fries make me sick.  --Pameal

We eat Chick-fil-a fries w/out any problems, and we are a sensitive bunch. I divvy up my chicken from a salad, and add a fruit cup for a complete meal, LOL. My oldest tried McD's fries a while back, and thought they were horrible. They are coated with a waxy substance that he couldn't get out of his mouth. He has no desire to eat there again!

I like Bojangles fries 'cause they have some peel left on them, so therefore more filling and nutritious (maybe?). but no idea if GF....  --Mary Beth

I don't really trust fast food fries you never know what they fry in the fryers together unless you work there! ----Jonna

i thought BK coated their fries with flour?  --Lynn

I am new to being gluten free and checked all fast food restaurants websites to see what was safe or not. Arby's, Wendy's and Mcdonald's all list their fries as containing wheat and unsafe for a gluten/wheat allergy as all their grilled chicken. Burger King however actually has a list of gluten free foods on their website and fries are listed as a safe food as well as the grilled chicken in their tendergrill salad.  --Laura

Generally they are not cooked in the same oil, which is why gluten free folks have eaten their fries for year. You should always check with the individual restaurant just to be sure.  --The Gluten-Free Homemaker (Linda)

I think it can depend on the country or state as to how safe each store is. However for us we have boycotted McDonalds. Here is why:

When out and needing a quick meal. We try Subway and get a chicken salad or we go to a cafe and get a hot potato and get them to put salad on them. I always go to a place where they make it in front of me.  --Jacqui

An Email Comment:

Thank you for your site, I appreciate each email update from you. I have a comment about fries.  I understand that most fast food & other restaurants have one central filtration unit to filter oil from all of their deep fryers, including those used for wheat coated products like chicken nuggets, breaded fish and onion rings. Due to this, even freshly made potato fries cooked in their own fryer would be cross-contaminated from the oil. Most restaurants would be very unlikely to have a separate filtration unit due to the cost. Everyone has to make their own choices of course, but from what I read any cross-contamination is harmful for celiacs & the goal is 100% compliance with gluten-free. The gluten-free diet is a big expense in time and money, and I am sorry to see people compromise all that over occasional trays of fries when there might be safe options. Thank you. --Shirley


Good Article
Great blog! I truly love how it’s easy on my eyes and the details are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which ought to do the trick! Have a nice day!

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