Canadian’s newest beef with chain restaurants is nuts!
When Earl’s Restaurant chain announced they were moving to use humane certified beef and A&W advertised their use of hormone-free beef, many of us were highly critical over the sourcing of non-Canadian beef. Their marketing suggested that these ‘alternative’ means of production were better than conventional cattle production and has led upset consumers and cattle producers to vote with their wallets, as many no longer support these chain restaurants with their business. 2017 marks the year McDonald’s joins this club of upsetting their customers. Instead of a beef boycott, McD’s is placing a roadblock on their menu for those with nut allergies.
Last month, Canada’s McDonald’s chain began serving a product which contains nuts that is not contained within a separately sealed package to prevent the contamination from a tree nut or peanut ingredient(s). The culprits are the newly introduced Skor and M&M’s McFlurries, which contains almonds and may contain peanuts. Some may think it’s presumptuous to suggest that customers with nut or peanut allergies can no longer eat at McDonald’s. In this case, those individuals likely do not have said an allergy or have someone close in their lives who struggles with the reality of a nut allergy. The unfortunate truth behind tree nut and peanut allergies is that it can cause an anaphylactic reaction without having to consume the nut. This can be fatal. Not everyone’s reactions will be this severe, however, the risk of contamination may be too great for many McDonald’s patrons and families to chance it.
Why is the public more upset about beef than nuts?
Why is it so horrible for a firm like A&W to diversify their brand and their menu, while it is not as big of a deal for McDonald’s to evolve their menu to contain nuts? Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the “Better Beef” campaign, but it’s a campaign that doesn’t change the safety of the product or physically restrict someone from coming into the restaurant. McDonald’s choice to serve this new menu item puts the rest of the menu at risk of contamination and could, therefore, limit their allergy-sensitive customers. Food Allergy Canada, reports that 2 in 100 children across the nation are affected by peanut allergies. Suddenly McDonald’s Canada is no longer a safe environment for that 2 % of children and 2.4% of Canadian who suffer from tree nut allergies.
The nut doesn’t challenge our Canadian agriculture but it does too ~2% of our population
There are a number of allergies out there, and I know we can’t expect restaurants to meet everyone’s personal needs. I can’t blame McDonald’s for their decision to serve these delicious new McFlurries, like A&W they have made a choice, and now it’s our choice whether to support their menu decision and marketing. Who knows, while McDonald’s stands by and supports Canadian beef production, perhaps A&W can stand beside those with nut allergies and offer them a guaranteed safe, nut-free dining environment.