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McDonald’s: Outcome of our meetings and our path forward

Thank you for patiently standing by us as we met with McDonald’s® Canada over the last few months. We advocated strongly on your behalf regarding the recent changes to their allergy-related policies.

McDonald’s has posted an update on their allergen policy changes which you can read at mcdonalds.ca. This update provides details on how they are managing allergens in their restaurants and what their commitment is to this community, including minimizing cross-contamination where possible, and having ongoing education and training for their restaurant staff on managing food allergies.

It is important to note that McDonald’s will not be going back to their previous allergen policy. The SKOR McFlurry and potential new menu items include nuts that are not individually packaged. At the same time, individually packaged nuts and peanuts are currently still available for some menu items including salads and sundaes. We understand this may be disappointing to you and encourage you to reach out to McDonald’s at 1-888-424-4622 to share your thoughts on their update.

Our recommendations

We appreciated the opportunity to meet with John Betts, President & CEO at McDonald’s, and his senior team, as well as their openness in continuously meeting with us to discuss their allergy-related changes.

In our meetings, we made a strong appeal to McDonald’s to continue their commitment to the allergy community. We provided them with recommendations on:

  • Ways they could enhance and/or implement specific processes and staff training for existing and future products to help minimize risks for individuals with food allergies.
  • How to clearly communicate their allergy management policies to help their customers with food allergies make an informed choice.
  • What to consider in terms of the impact to this community when introducing major food allergens for potential new products and the value of this brand loyal consumer base.

We also provided them with common practices and positive examples from the foodservice industry on allergen management.

As a result of these meetings, McDonald’s will implement some of our key recommendations, including a review of their allergen management policies and practices, enhancements to their communications to include information on possible cross-contamination, and reinforcement of their current training and procedures related to allergens.

While they appreciated our input on other recommendations for both enhanced risk-reduction practices (e.g. dedicated ordering process and preparation) and staff training, as well as having stock epinephrine (epinephrine auto-injectors that are not prescribed to anyone and can be used in an emergency), they were not incorporated in their overall changes.

The path forward

Although we did make some advancements with McDonald’s, thanks to your tremendous support, this experience highlighted a bigger gap in the foodservice industry, namely that there needs to be standard processes and training in place to accommodate individuals with food allergies when they dine out.

We have been able to engage the wider audience and the foodservice industry as a whole, helping us to make a bigger impact and drive change.

We are currently advocating with industry and government to develop standards for allergen management, so all foodservice establishments have consistent practices in place to ensure you, and all Canadians with food allergies, can make informed choices when dining out and stay safe.

We will provide more details on our advocacy throughout the summer, and we will call on you to help us drive this issue forward. Stay tuned for details on how you can help.

Thank you for your continued support!