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Restaurant French Fries Cross Contamination?

30 replies [Last post]
By LDR on Mon, 05-21-07, 15:28

Do you let your PA kids eat french fries from restaurants? We haven't, because it was my understanding that the oil they are fried in could very likely be contaminated by other foods fried in the same oil that may contain an allergen we are avoiding.
What do you do?

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By TwokidsNJ on Mon, 05-21-07, 17:56

I've had two problems lately:

1) Fryer also used for pecan-fried dessert (Charlie Browns Restaurant NJ)

2) Fryer uses sesame oil (local restaurant in NJ)

I always ask and avoid when something like above. But seems like we've had more problems lately (never a reaction from this though), and I'm beginning to rethink allowing restaurant fries (which I had always allowed w/ kids meals).

Also curious what others do.

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By josh'smom on Mon, 05-21-07, 18:56

My son eats french fries at restaurants almost everytime we go somewhere. It is always something we can get him to eat, but I first ask what else is fried in the oil and then I make the decision to get them or not. Usually it is ok!

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By hapi2bgf on Mon, 05-21-07, 20:00

My kid eats the fries. The allergist didn't see a big concern here. I never ask if it is a dedicated fryer for fries for the PA. If the menu looks suspect, we either don't eat there or we only order grilled food. Plus, we rarely eat at a restaurant the serves anything fried that has nuts. She is strictly a chicken nuggets and fries kinda kid.

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By KatiesMom on Mon, 05-21-07, 20:01

The last two times we've eaten at Applebees, we were told that the french fries would not be appropriate for my PA daughter becuase they also fry peacan crusted chicken in the same oil. What I liked was that I only said 'no peanuts' and they came back with the peacan thing and the cross contimination thing. To me, it showed that they were gave thought to my daughters allergy.

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By Carefulmom on Mon, 05-21-07, 20:16

Never unless it is a dedicated fryer. So far the only dedicated fryer we have found is at In and Out Burger and I am not much of a fast food eater. Non dedicated fryers are waaaaaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone due to cross contamination risk.

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By saknjmom on Mon, 05-21-07, 21:00

I have never been that concerned about the french fry thing...but, um who would have thought of frying a desert??? Yuck!
So apparently this is a catching fad and I never thought about nut crusted chicken or fish being fried with french fries.
I'm going to definitely ask more specifically next time we visit a restaurant.
Good post....

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By on Mon, 05-21-07, 21:50

Another thing to watch that may be fried in the same oil as french fries is an "almond" coating - like "almond chicken". Sometimes restaurants buy "almond flavored PEANUTS". These are peanuts that have been deflavored and reflavored then sliced to resemble almonds. They are cheaper than actual almonds.

Then the restaurant prepares these fake almonds in a batter for almond chicken.

A fellow in the "in memory" thread ate french fries from an upscale restaurant with almond chicken on the menu....

I question restaurants specifically with what they fry in the same oil.

Have a blessed day,
Bridget

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By McCobbre on Mon, 05-21-07, 22:24

Something else to watch out for here is tortilla chips (and more common than fries in the restaurants we frequent). Ask what else is fried in the oil used to fry the chips. At one restaurant DH and I went to a pecan dessert is fried in the same oil, so the whole restaurant is a no-go for DS. Even though there aren't any peanuts there and no other pecans, I couldn't bear to take him to a TexMex restaurant if he couldn't have chips and salsa.

More often than not, they also fry shrimp in the same oil, which is a no-no for me. :-(

Some restaurants have baked chips, too. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] And even if some of them taste like styrofoam, they're simply a salsa delivery mechanism. Hey--and salsa counts as a fruit/veg!!

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By cathlina on Tue, 05-22-07, 00:16

I just don't eat fries....then I don't have to worry about....plus they are too salty, greasy etc. etc.

I don't miss them at all.

PA adult

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By momll70 on Tue, 05-22-07, 00:26

When my son was just PA after I found out about the oil I let him eat the fries. Then came sesame allergy and now I don't because of all the breaded things they might fry. He's not a big french fry eater. I give him fries from Wendy's only or I make my own. If we go to a diner I order him pancakes and scrambled eggs or a plain burger. The pancakes are more exciting for him though. I'm MFA and I have stopped eating fried food when I go out and I haven't experienced mystery reactions since.

[This message has been edited by momll70 (edited May 21, 2007).]

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By mommamia8 on Tue, 05-22-07, 00:37

If you have an egg allergy and get the fries at Wendy's: you have to make sure they don't use the same oil for omlette bites (don't remember if that is the correct name). You can check their site, I think it was .pdf file for allergy info. Somewhere in very fine print it states about the omlettes in the fry oil. But HARDLY any Wendy's offers the omlette things, so that is helpful.

I did talk to someone at Wendy's and point out the fact this should be checked for a "may contain" on their site. And not some tiny print I almost overlooked. (This all took place a few months ago, that is why I am sketchy with the facts).

Anyway, I am still chicken. DS has only eaten a small box of cereal and milk at diner type places. We haven't ventured past there yet...

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By TwokidsNJ on Tue, 05-22-07, 01:22

Quote:Originally posted by KatiesMom:
[b]The last two times we've eaten at Applebees, we were told that the french fries would not be appropriate for my PA daughter becuase they also fry peacan crusted chicken in the same oil. What I liked was that I only said 'no peanuts' and they came back with the peacan thing and the cross contimination thing. To me, it showed that they were gave thought to my daughters allergy.[/b]

Yikes, this one scares me when coming from a national chain. I hope they start disclosing this on the menu.

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By JND on Tue, 05-22-07, 12:25

We ask about dedicated fryers, and we've run across situations where the restaurant had eggrolls w/ PB to seal them shut and those were fried in w/ all the other fried items - So watch out for eggrolls on the menu. And we've found that some managers forget about that as a potential problem when we are asking them about possible cross contamination.

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By MimiM on Tue, 05-22-07, 12:36

That's a really good point, JND. I usually ask if they fry anything containing nuts in the frier but I haven't really thought about egg rolls. I mean, I won't let him eat anything from Chinese restaurants but there are some other restaurants that serve egg rolls as an appetizer.

So far, we've never had any reactions that way but you never know.

Thanks for adding that!

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By mcmom on Tue, 05-22-07, 12:46

Quote:Originally posted by hapi2bgf:
[b]My kid eats the fries. The allergist didn't see a big concern here. I never ask if it is a dedicated fryer for fries for the PA. If the menu looks suspect, we either don't eat there or we only order grilled food. Plus, we rarely eat at a restaurant the serves anything fried that has nuts. She is strictly a chicken nuggets and fries kinda kid. [/b]

Same here. We really only eat out at the diner, they don't have any kind of fried desserts, or anything nut crusted on the menu, so we have always been comfortable letting ds eat fries and nuggets.

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By Carefulmom on Tue, 05-22-07, 15:20

I guess I must be the only one on this thread who teaches their child that she must know the ingredients of something before she eats it. That means if you let your child eat fries in a restaurant, then you have to know the ingredients of everything that was fried in the same fryer since some of the previously fried food will be in your child`s food. Clearly that isn`t possible. Interesting.....I am surprised I am the only one on this thread teaching their child they must know the ingredients before it goes in their mouth.

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By McCobbre on Tue, 05-22-07, 18:03

Carefulmom--I don't think you can make that assumption after reading this thread. Clearly a lot of parents don't even let their children eat fries and many parents question the oil. I think it's safe to assume they probably question the ingredients.

DS so rarely gets fries. For him, it's not just peanut safetey--I can't stand the fact he would be eating them, and with his vegetarianism, fries are so often not actually vegetarian (even if they are peanut safe--they often contain meat products). Yuck!

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By Carefulmom on Tue, 05-22-07, 19:07

Oh, I don`t doubt that parents ask the ingredients in the fries and what kind of oil. What I meant was that if you know the ingredients "in" the fries, but you don`t know the ingredients of everything that was fried in that unwashed frier or oil, then you really don`t know the ingredients in the fries.

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By MimiM on Wed, 05-23-07, 18:17

Carefulmom,
As I stated earlier, I do ask if anything containing nuts goes in the frier. Usually, staff will then list for me what foods they use it for. I've never actually been told of egg rolls going in a frier. Probably if they mentioned that, it would perk my ears up. Usually, they say, "onion rings, chicken strips, and shrimp (stuff like that)". None of which I have ever found to contain nut ingredients. I have to admit that I don't always know the exact ingredients that are in each one although I have asked the staff to check for me and will ask to see the package if I have any doubts. Most of the time, we eat at places that we have been to numerous times and feel comfortable. When we go to a restaurant for the first time, I definately drill deeper. Comfort level...comfort level.

My previous comment is that many would not think of egg rolls as being a problem so it is great to bring it up. I probably would since I have learned so much from PA.com. over the last several years but I could definately see how that could get overlooked by someone who is new at this.

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By jtolpin on Wed, 05-23-07, 20:09

Quote:Originally posted by Carefulmom:
[b]I guess I must be the only one on this thread who teaches their child that she must know the ingredients of something before she eats it. That means if you let your child eat fries in a restaurant, then you have to know the ingredients of everything that was fried in the same fryer since some of the previously fried food will be in your child`s food. Clearly that isn`t possible. Interesting.....I am surprised I am the only one on this thread teaching their child they must know the ingredients before it goes in their mouth.[/b]

I agree with this, but I wouldn't have stated it like that.

I simply would have stated that you need to know everything that was cooked in the same oil, as what you are about to eat. I'm sure thats what CM meant to say, right? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Jason

------------------
[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]

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By josh'smom on Thu, 05-24-07, 00:45

I always call before we go to restaurants and yes I find out everything that is cooked in the oil. I usually speak to the manager or kitchen manager. When we used to go the On the Border Cafe. They would fry my son chicken and french fries with the chips to make sure there was no cross contamination even with eggs. We are now only dealing with peanut allergy and that really is not a common food put in fryers. I definetly would not let him eat something that had any nuts in there. I always call and tell them PA as well at TNA just to make it easier. We have not had a problem so far.

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By MimiM on Thu, 05-24-07, 12:51

I believe that we are all pretty much saying the same thing. Aren't we?

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By kelly01 on Thu, 05-24-07, 20:19

Late to this thread...but, yup, ds eats fries out all the time. We take our usual precautions 1)inquire as to what type of oil they use (quite honestly, although it is not unheard of to use peanut oil in the midwest, we rarely run across it in your "general" type eating places), and 2)I look over the entire menu (try to get a look at it before going by pulling it up on the internet) to get a "feel" for what types of foods they are serving. If there are lots of nut items (not including desserts) we generally avoid the restaurant anyway.

Kelly

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By solarflare on Fri, 05-25-07, 15:28

I generally only let Jason eat french fries at fast food places and Dennys... places where I don't have to worry about nutty things getting deep fried.

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By Corvallis Mom on Fri, 05-25-07, 16:27

We have only [i]ever[/i] allowed DD to eat fried foods (of any kind) at one of these places:

1. Home.

2. Disneyland, Ariel's Grotto (after chef spoke with us and opted to use fresh oil)

3. Wendy's... but not since they began introducing egg-containing battered/fried items about two years ago.

Nowhere else. Ever. Because I feel (personally) that there will always be an unacceptably high risk of [i]someone[/i] (on another shift, whatever) having put [i]something[/i] verboten into that oil, and I just don't trust most restaurant staff to be well-enough educated to understand that [i]even this is a risk[/i] and respond appropriately.

We [i]do[/i] allow her to eat tortilla chips from two local restaurants and from Taco Bell. Both restaurants only use that fryer for the chips.

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By julieneaman on Fri, 05-25-07, 18:35

Interesting story that aired yesterday.

[url="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18853311/"]http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18853311/[/url]

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By lakeswimr on Fri, 05-25-07, 18:35

DS reacted to fries in a place that fries them in the same oil with things that are coated with egg way back when he was first diagnosed. We didn't know what we were doing back then. Now we only let him eat BK fries because they are cooked in a dedicated fryer and I started asking each time to read the ingredients. I think asking this and asking about the oil and if they are fried with DS's allergens is even more important now since many places are switching away from hydrogenated oils.

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By sidni on Sat, 05-26-07, 15:04

THe thing that worries me most is irresponsible employees who may have too much time on their hands.

In high school, some kids I know went to the UK and came back really excited about fried candy bars... Needless to say, they claimed to have stuck a number of candy bars - and I specifically remember them saying Snickers and Mars --into the frier at the fast food place one of them worked at and oohed and ahhed over how yummy they were.

So thats the kind of stuff that makes me nervous... The restaurant could essentially be doing everything right, then someone sticks a snickers bar into the frier ... How delightful [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By MJMD on Fri, 06-01-07, 19:16

We had a frustrating Memorial Day Weekend trying to find a place to get a quick bite to eat (we opted for pizza). Our allergist has our son (PN/TN) avoiding shellfish for a bit longer as a precaution (not allergic to it, knock wood.) Pretty much everywhere I called TGIFriday's, Chili's, Champps, etc. fries everything in the same oil - fried shrimp was the biggest culprit - everyone serves it! Champps even fries pecans in their oil. My DH & I ate there by our selves a while back, and I didn't see any mention to any type of cross-contamination of the fries w/ tree nuts on the menu. I think it's horrible, b/c it's in our local mall, and who knows how many parents are unknowingly exposing their toddlers to tn & shellfish by eating in establishments like this.

We have not had any problem w/Wendy's & have had extremely good luck at Outback. Our local Outback has 3 separate friers - one for fish, one for chicken, and one for potatoes & it's been uneventful every time we've been there (again, knock wood). The staff is always very knowledgable too.

Thanks.

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By ajgauthier on Fri, 06-01-07, 23:52

Quote:Originally posted by sidni:
[b]THe thing that worries me most is irresponsible employees who may have too much time on their hands.

In high school, some kids I know went to the UK and came back really excited about fried candy bars... Needless to say, they claimed to have stuck a number of candy bars - and I specifically remember them saying Snickers and Mars --into the frier at the fast food place one of them worked at and oohed and ahhed over how yummy they were.

So thats the kind of stuff that makes me nervous... The restaurant could essentially be doing everything right, then someone sticks a snickers bar into the frier ... How delightful [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[/b]

it's not just the UK --- I worked at a Mass Pike Burger King in high school and workers used to put all kinds of things in the fryers...including Snickers, Milky Ways, and Butterfingers.

Adrienne

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