Your family is on a road trip and you brought along a friend who has food allergies. Barely 20 miles on the interstate and the kids are already fighting in the backseat, hurling insults at each other in between increasingly desperate proclamations that they are surely starving to death.
You see the sweet golden arches in the distance, but first things first, you quickly Google “allergen info McDonalds.”
So just how food allergy friendly is McDonalds? Your stomach growls loudly as you pull up the allergen info for McDonalds.
The Food Allergy Advisor reviews allergen info from McDonalds to see how allergy friendly the menu is based off the top 9 food allergies in the United States (egg, wheat, soy, milk, tree nut, peanut, shellfish, fish, and sesame).
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. For further information please see full Disclaimer. Always visit restaurant’s websites for allergen information.
Table of Contents
The Food Allergy Advisor™Ranking System is Based on Four Major Criteria:
- The Top 9 food allergies friendliness – Does the restaurant provide several options accommodating the Top 9 food allergies? :
- The overall confidence ranking for food allergy diners
- The completeness of the food allergy menu
- The intuitiveness of the food allergy menu
Each category is ranked on a scale of zero to five stars. Together, these categories are combined to provide a single overall score.
Top 9 Food Allergies Friendliness: Allergen Info for McDonald’s
To rank high in this category there should be a variety of selections across the Top 9 food allergens (tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, egg, milk, shellfish, fish, and sesame). Variety should be across the menu board: breakfast, burgers, chicken and fish sandwiches, McNuggets and Meals, Fries and Sides, McCafe Coffee, and McCafe Bakery, and Sweets and Treats.
So whether it’s McDonald’s Breakfast Allergen Menu or its McDonald’s lunch/dinner menu, we will take a look at how friendly McDonald’s is when it comes to specific food allergies.
Can you eat at McDonalds with a milk allergy? Let’s take a look.
At the time of my review, all breakfast items contain milk. So, breakfast is not feasible at McDonalds with a milk allergy.
Some of the burgers and chicken sandwiches are listed as okay without cheese. However, although butter is not listed as an ingredient on several of the burgers, some locations butter their buns or may have butter on their grill. Be sure to ask about this at the specific location you are visiting.
Based on ingredients listed on their website, the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Double Quarter Pounder, Quarter Pounder Deluxe, McDouble, and Hamburger are okay as long as NOT ordered with cheese. Of course, there is risk of cross contamination.
The Filet-O-Fish also contains milk within the fish filet patty, so the Filet-O-Fish is not safe for those with a milk allergy.
McDonalds World Famous Fries contain milk and should not be consumed by anyone with a milk allergy.
The Spicy Buffalo Sauce and Creamy Ranch Sauce contains milk.
Many McCafe items contain milk and I encourage you to look at the ingredients in the McCafe items.
McCafe Bakery items contain milk as well as many of the desserts and sweets and smoothie menu items.
McDonalds Egg Allergy Menu
Cross contamination is a real concern with egg for breakfast items. Of course, anything on the breakfast menu with egg in the name is a no go. The Sausage McMuffin, Sausage Biscuit, Sausage McGriddles, hash browns, and fruit and maple oatmeal are possible choices if you have an egg allergy.
Again, be cautious about cross contamination and always check McDonalds for the most up to date allergen information.
Many sandwiches that have sauces are not okay with an egg allergy. Currently there is a Smoky sauce (limited time) that contains egg. The Big Mac Sauce also contains eggs.
The Quarter Pounder sandwiches, McDouble, double cheeseburger, hamburger, crispy chicken sandwich are listed at this time as not containing egg.
Be sure not to get any menu item that contains mayonnaise. Mayonnaise contains egg. The Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich and McChicken includes mayonnaise.
The Spicy Crispy Chicken sandwich has a spicy pepper sauce which contains egg.
Tartar sauce is a no go with an egg allergy as well. McDonald’s Honey Mustard Sauce and Creamy Ranch Sauce contain egg.
McCafe Bakery items contain eggs as well as some of the desserts such as the chocolate chip cookie.
Breakfast biscuits and McGriddles contain soy. McMuffins do not contain soy at this time. Any sandwich that has Pasteurized American Cheese also contains soy.
Ordering a McMuffin or a Burrito without cheese may be possible options if you have a soy allergy. Be sure to check ingredients.
Unfortunately, McDonalds hotcakes do contain soy.
The Fruit and Maple Oatmeal and hash browns do not currently have soy listed as an allergen.
Big Macs are out if you have a soy allergy. Remember that McDonald’s Pasteurized American Cheese contains soy. Do not order anything with cheese if you have a soy allergy. Most burgers or chicken sandwiches are an option if cheese is omitted. Be sure to check the allergen menu.
McDonalds Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce and Tangy Barbeque Sauce contains soy.
The McCafe Mocha Latte contains soy.
The Blueberry muffin is the only McCafe Bakery item that currently does not list soy as an allergen.
Many of the desserts and sweets menu items contain soy.
McDonalds buns do contain wheat. The only breakfast possibility is the fruit and maple oatmeal if you have a wheat allergy. Keep in mind that this oatmeal has oats and barley, so if you are sensitive to these grains, you should not order the oatmeal.
The Crispy Chicken contains wheat. The Filet-O-Fish also contains wheat within the fish filet patty. Chicken McNuggets also contain wheat.
McDonald’s World Famous Fries contain wheat.
Many of McDonald’s sauces contain wheat, so be sure to look at ingredients. You could consider consuming a burger without the bun (to eliminate wheat). However,the risk for cross contamination is high.
McDonalds Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce, and the Tangy Barbeque Sauce contains wheat.
McCafe Bakery items contain wheat as well as many of the desserts and sweets menu items
Tree Nut Allergy
There were no McDonald’s menu items at this time that listed tree nuts as an allergy. I would however, recommend proceeding with caution if consuming a McFlurry in case candy choices change over time.
Some of the McFlurries may contain peanuts.
Shellfish is not mentioned on McDonald’s menu.
The Filet-O-Fish contains pollock. There is risk of cross contamination with other menu items, especially menu items that share the fryer with the fish filet.
There are regular buns at McDonalds which do not contain sesame but there are also many sandwiches with a Sesame seed bun.
Currently the menu shows the McDouble, Double Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger and Hamburger with regular buns. Be sure to ask for a regular bun if dining at McDonalds with a sesame allergy.
There is a definite risk of cross contamination with sesame buns being used on many menu items.
McDonald’s Food Allergen Menu Confidence Ranking
Let’s review The Food Allergy Advisor™ Ranking System for Confidence.
Is there Ambiguity?
The Food Allergy Advisor feels there is no ambiguity when looking at allergen info for McDonald’s. Each menu item clearly lists ingredients.
Is there a Mission Statement?
McDonald’s does not have a mission statement when it comes to Food Allergies. They do, however, have Registered Dietitians on staff who work on ingredient statements and address questions about food allergies. As a Dietitian myself, I love this!
McDonald’s mentions that it cares about their consumer being able to make informed and mindful food choices.
McDonald’s states: “We understand that each of our customers has individual needs and considerations when choosing a place to eat or drink outside their home, especially those customers with food allergies. As part of our commitment to you, we provide the most current ingredient information available from our food suppliers for the eight most common allergens as identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish), so that our guests with food allergies can make informed food selections.”
Are there Personal Touches?
I would not say there were a lot of personal touches to the menu with regard to food allergies. Ingredients were clearly listed, however, which is most important.
Has the Menu Been Updated Within Six Months?
A date is not listed, however, McDonald’s states that “we provide the most current ingredient information available from our food suppliers…”
Be very careful not to do a random Google search when trying to access McDonald’s allergen menu or you may accidently view the UK’s McDonald’s Allergen menu. ALWAYS go directly to McDonald’s actual website and download the allergen menu from there.
Are there Clear Cross Contamination Statements
Cross contamination statements are listed as fine print and are often not included under “allergen information” within “our menu.”
McDonald’s mentions: “…we also want you to know that despite taking precautions, normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation areas, equipment and utensils, and the possibility exists for your food items to come in contact with other food products, including allergens. We encourage our customers with food allergies or special dietary needs to visit www.mcdonalds.com for ingredient information, and to consult their doctor for questions regarding their diet. If you have questions about our food, please reach out to us directly using our contact us forms.”
McDonald’s Completeness Ranking
Below is The Food Allergy Advisor™ ranking for Completeness of McDonald’s allergen menu.
Are All Nine Major Allergens Included?
McDonald’s includes all nine of the major allergens: wheat, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, milk, shellfish, fish, and sesame simply by listing all ingredients from each menu item. Sesame is listed under ingredients, but it is not highlighted as of yet as a major allergen.
Like most restaurants, sesame labeling will be updated in 2023. As of January 1, 2023 sesame should be declared on food labels. Many restaurants will likely be including sesame on the food allergen menu beginning in 2023.
Sesame is considered one of the top 9 food allergens in the United States.
Are Full Ingredient Lists Available for Menu Items?
Is the Nutrition Information Easy to Compare to the Food Allergy Information
Nutritional Information and allergen can be viewed on the same screen.
Is it Easy to Complete an Online Order within the Food Allergy Section of the Menu?
The food allergen menu doesn’t necessarily flow easily into the ordering section of the website. You can easily click to make an order, but it does not necessarily save the menu item you were just viewing.
It encourages you to download the McDonald’s app for ordering food.
McDonald’s Food Allergen Menu Intuitiveness Ranking
Below is The Food Allegy Advisor’s Ranking System for Intuitiveness.
Is Allergen info at McDonalds Easy to Understand?
I think that the menu is very easy to understand. You can’t necessarily compare more than one menu item at a time, but the information is very clear on all menu items.
Ease of Mobile Access
The mobile website has the same allergen information available that you would be able to find on a PC.
Is it Easy to Find Allergy Information on McDonald’s Website?
You do have to do some clicking in order to get to the right screen. At first I wasn’t sure what to select, but it is fairly intuitive.
Select “Our Menu” then select the menu category (example: breakfast), then select a menu item and lastly scroll down to click “allergen information.”
Easy to Sort
There is no sorting feature. You can view allergen information for one menu item at a time.
Is there an Application for Your Phone?
The McDonald’s app has over 1.5 million users.
The app does have a clear statement about Food allergies. It asks the user to see Nutrition & Ingredients for the most up-to-date ingredient information.
The Food Allergy Advisor™ Scoring System is for menus in the United States and review is based on the date/time that the food allergy menu was accessed. The Food Allergy Advisor™ will make best efforts to update restaurant scores periodically.
Always check the food allergen menu of the particular restaurant where you will be dining, do not rely on information on this blog post as food menus may change. Check McDonald’s food allergen menu site for the most updated information.
This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice.
Global chain supply issues may affect menu items at restaurants Be sure to read individual statements for all restaurants regarding changes in menus/ingredients and their statements regarding cross contamination.
Ranking a restaurant here and/or including a menu item here does not guarantee that the particular restaurant/menu item is safe for your individual needs.
This Website Does Not Provide Medical Advice
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Overall, The Food Allergy Advisor feels McDonald’s clearly lists ingredients for each menu item.
One suggestion is that comments about cross contamination be more clearly listed on the allergen info page. There is information about cross contamination, but it is more so in the fine print of the website.
It would be wonderful if McDonald’s could work to include more dairy free menu items and possibly change the American Cheese used on menu items to one that does not contain soy.
When first visiting the website, trying to locate the food allergy information can take some time. This could be made a bit more intuitive.
I absolutely love that the Registered Dietitians who work for McDonalds are featured on the website and that one of their bios specifically mentions food allergies.
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Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Amber DeVore, RD, CSSD, CLT