Can Celiacs Eat the French Fries at McDonalds? 

I’m sure my post title might be something that you’ve typed into Google’s search bar, or perhaps a variation, “are McDonalds fries gluten free?”  

None of us want to give up convenient or tasty food because of this disease, yet we all know that we have to give up so much!  It truly sucks, as our glutinous friends and family are quick to remind us.  Thanks.  Not helpful.  

There are sometimes when we get a hall pass on the odd occasion, and McDonalds fries are one of them.  No, I don’t mean hall pass as in allowing ourselves to cheat and damage our intestines! I mean a hall pass, legit.  Here’s what you need to do:

1.  Go to the McDonalds website for the country that you’re in, and look at the ingredients.  If your country’s fries and hash browns have any gluten ingredients in them, forget it.  Go no further, they’re off the table for you. 

2. If no gluten ingredients (like Canada’s), start phoning or walk into the McDonalds in your area and ask to speak to the manager. My experience tells me that the BIG ones with the McCafe sections are more likely to be better candidates.  

3.  Use this script:

“Hi, I have celiac disease and cannot have any gluten coming in contact with my food whatsoever.  Could you please tell me if your potato fryer 

A) only ever  has potatoes in them

B) is self-contained, and filters its own oil and 

C) the oil in the potato fryer is never in contact with the oil from any breaded product fryers? 

Some McDonalds have separate fryers for every single one of their fried products.  Some McDonalds have a separate fryer for potatoes, and another fryer for all other fried products. But here’s the part you have to watch out for:

Some McDonalds filter the oils from the potato fryer and the breaded products fryer TOGETHER, thereby cross-contaminating the potato fryer oil, then they just put the newly-filtered oil back into each fryer.  If this is the case, you CANNOT eat the fries.  Because as I’ve said before, gluten is like stirring sugar into your coffee; you can’t strain it out. 

Sorry.  I weep little tears inside my head and silently cuss out the franchise owner when I hear that it’s one of the “bad” oil filtering systems. (In fairness, it’s usually smaller facilities that do this because they don’t have a large enough food prep area to do it differently). 

But some McDonalds have completely enclosed self-filtering systems for the potato fryer, making the fries and hash browns safe for us to eat.  Like the one I found today after much enquiring. 

So if you really wish you could enjoy those famous fries again…go ahead and ask a few questions. You may just get your wish! 

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