After a long-standing policy of only serving nuts in sealed packages, McDonald’s Canada is now adding nuts to their menu, prompting the mega fast food chain to inform their customers that all their food could be contaminated with a variety of allergens.
“All products available at our restaurants may contain or come into contact with peanuts, tree nuts or other allergens,” is how McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd. worded a statement on their website.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, McMaster University allergist Susan Waserman called the move ambiguous because the restaurant’s “wide-sweeping statement” does not clearly define “other allergens” such as dairy, shellfish or other allergens.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Jeff Palmer, a Winnipeg parent whose 8-year-old daughter has an allergy to peanuts.
“As a parent of a kid who has a peanut allergy, I’m always aware of the risk that exists when my child is eating outside our home,” he said.
Palmer said McDonald’s was always a great option for his family when it comes to eating out because of the restaurant’s strong policies regarding peanuts and cross contamination of other foods.
“They were ahead of their time,” said Palmer.
He said the expectation the restaurant chain was consistent and responsible in this area meant his family could safely eat at the food chain when traveling to other places in Manitoba and Canada.
“I think it’s a bad business decision,” Palmer said. “The effect goes way beyond the two percent of the population who have nut allergies. It affects our entire family, it effects our soccer team, our school.”
Palmer’s disappointment is reflected on McDonald’s Facebook page, which has been flooded by angry comments from the public. The chain has not yet responded to this backlash.
“I certainly hope they will reconsider this decision,” Palmer said.