FAAN Responds to McDonalds' Disclosure of Allergens In French Fries

Feb 15, 2006, 00:00 ET from The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

    FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, McDonald's quietly
 released information on their Web site that their fries "contain wheat and
 milk ingredients." After the press picked up the story, McDonald's
 spokesperson, Cathy Kapica, director of global nutrition, told the Associated
 Press that the fries include a "natural flavoring" made, in part, from
 extracts of wheat and dairy products. She went on to say, "Technically, there
 are no allergens in there and those who have eaten the product should be able
 to continue to do so without incident. If someone is really sensitive, they
 need to be aware that this product at one point derived from wheat and dairy."
     This is the type of confusing message The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis
 Network (FAAN), a national nonprofit advocacy group with 30,000 members --
 works hard to clarify.  "Are the fries safe for those with milk and wheat
 allergy or not?" asks Anne Munoz-Furlong, FAAN Founder and CEO.  "To say they
 contain these allergens, but one should continue to eat them is irresponsible.
 When doctors make a diagnosis, they advise strict avoidance of an allergen.
 The McDonald's advice can potentially put children at risk. It promotes
 behavior that ignores food labels. Further, some FAAN members are now
 wondering if their child has outgrown their allergies because they can eat
 these French fries without having a reaction. No company should put consumers
 in this type of situation where they are second guessing the accuracy of
 ingredient information and potentially putting a life at risk. "
     Consumers in the food allergic community need clear, consistent, and
 reliable ingredient information. If there is a risk, label for it. Don't put
 information on an ingredient statement and tell consumers to ignore it. Until
 there is more information about the real risk from McDonald's French fries,
 FAAN advices consumers with milk and wheat allergy to avoid eating this
 product. Speak to your doctor before making a change to your diet.
       For more information about FAAN, go to http://www.foodallergy.org
     The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is a Virginia-based non-
 profit organization representing the 11 million Americans who have a food
 allergy. Established in 1991, FAAN's mission is to increase awareness, to
 provide education and advocacy, and to advance research on behalf of all those
 affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.  For more information, visit the
 FAAN Web site at http://www.foodallergy.org, or call (800)929-4040.  To reach
 a board-certified allergist, contact the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma &
 Immunology or the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

SOURCE The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network