McDonald’s Canada: All Menu Items Now ‘May Contain’ Allergens

in Food Allergy, Food Allergy News, Peanut & Tree Nut
Published: January 14, 2017
McDonald'sPhoto: McDonald's

Changes to the McDonald’s Canada menu are likely to put dining at the chain off-limits to most families with peanut, nut or dairy allergies. [Update: McDonald’s Canada revised its policy in response to food allergy community concerns. See our more recent article here.]

McDonald’s Canada confirmed to Allergic Living that, as of January 2017, its restaurants were introducing a new menu. It includes a product that will be served using nuts or peanuts that are no longer individually packaged. The chain’s practice previously was to use nut packets to avoid food cross-contact.

“The new SKOR McFlurry is the first product that will contain non-packaged peanuts or tree nuts,” said Adam Grachnik, external communications manager. (SKOR’s chocolate contains both almond and milk ingredients.)

Grachnik told Allergic Living: “As a result, all products available at our restaurants may contain or come into contact with peanuts, tree nuts or other allergens. That means the possibility exists for cross-contact between nuts and other menu items.”

Menu Evolving – Loose Nuts Used

Many allergists recommend that those with allergies avoid foods that “may contain” specific allergens.

Allergy notice McDonald'sPhoto: Mariam Matti

“McDonald’s Canada is constantly evolving our menu and introducing new items and new ingredients,” Grachnik said. “We are making a significant change to our menu and our operational procedures as it relates to allergens.”

An internal memo suggesting this change was first shared on Facebook by the Quebec blog Fighting Allergies (Déjouer les allergies), prompting over 1,400 shares in a few days and hundreds of comments in the Quebec food allergy community alone.

It does not appear that the new nut product and loose nuts approach are in the plans for U.S. McDonald’s restaurants at this time. But the fast-food chain has announced that syrups with soy (in addition to milk) are being introduced in some McCafe chocolate beverages across the U.S.

McDonald’s has been known for kitchen protocols to avoid cross-contact even though allergens such as dairy, soy and wheat are present. 

Community Says: NotLovinIt

In Canada, thousands of parents are expressing their disappointment in the McDonald’s Canada changes. On the Fighting Allergies Facebook page, one father wrote: “My four sons and I ate regularly at McDonald’s. I appreciated hugely that we could eat without anxiety as my oldest is allergic to nuts and peanuts. That’s it for us and McDo.”

An allergy mom added: “Yet again, another place where we won’t be able to go.” Others similarly expressed profound disappointment at the new company approach on food allergens by adopting Food Allergy Canada’s #NotLovingIt hashtag.

For further information, see also or contact McDonald’s customer line at 1-888-424-4622.