A new item at McDonald’s locations across Canada is causing quite the controversy and for some people it’s even dangerous.
Thousands of Canadians have taken to social media saying they have a massive beef with the chain after it decided to serve products using nuts that are no longer sealed.
Among those hundreds of families with concerns over food allergens are the parents of three-and-a-half-year-old Ellie Roth, who say they took her there on occasion when the family was on the go or as a treat.
“We’d go every once in a while and especially when traveling,” Ellie’s mom, Deanna Doherty, said.
“When you’re traveling you don’t know the area but at least you always knew that McDonald’s was always safe where you could take your kid.”
Safe for the Roth family because before now nuts were prepackaged at McDonald’s – something Ellie is severely allergic to along with hundreds of other Canadians.
Nonetheless, McDonald’s has sparked a flurry of negative backlash after adding a Skor McFlurry containing chopped up almonds to it’s menu on Tuesday. It’s the chain’s first product to contain non-packaged peanuts or tree-nuts.
“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,” McDonald’s Canada said in a statement.
A heartbreaking decision says Doherty that is incredibly frustrating and appears to be a step backward for the restaurant chain after a long-standing policy to seal foods unsafe for some consumers.
“They’re saying it’s a demand for nut products but I just don’t understand how huge that demand could possibly be for one item on their menu?”
Marjorie Delbaere, associate professor of marketing at the Edwards School of Business, says it’s hard to speculate what McDonald’s is doing but that it is very aware of power and value of its brand.
“It will be I’m sure a blow for people who have been loyal to McDonald’s but I’m assuming McDonald’s will have thought about that and weighed the plus and minuses of this decision and they decided to proceed with it nonetheless.”
In response to why McDonald’s Canada decided to go in this direction, this is what they had to say:
“As a guest driven company, McDonald’s Canada is constantly evolving our menu and introducing new items and new ingredients. We are making a significant change to our menu and our operational procedures as it relates to allergens.
“We have a long history of being sensitive to the needs of our guests with food allergies and this time will be no different, which is why we are communicating this important information in restaurants, at the drive-thru, on our website and through our mobile app.”
Families frustrated with the move say they hope McDonald’s will reconsider this decision.
“It’s just disappointing to have one more thing taken away from our kids,” Doherty said.
Delbaere says McDonald’s is very in tune with customer sentiment and may reverse the decision if enough negative feedback comes pouring in.
“I can only imagine that they will be monitoring this and they will look at that and they’ll have to then maybe go back and say ‘we did this for a reason is it still worth it now that we’re experiencing some of these negative feelings towards our decision?’.”