by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
New for 2011 on McDonald’s national menu is Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Made with whole grain rolled oats, it may be ordered with or without cream. This product may also be ordered without brown sugar, diced apples, or the cranberry raisin blend according to Ashley, a customer service representative at McDonald’s who spoke with us about the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Patrons must request their preferences upon ordering.
Readers who looked at the Ingredients Statement posted on McDonald’s website in early February 2011 may have been confused by the presence of two entries for this product, one of which omitted the word “cream” but was followed by “contains milk.” The second entry also omitted “cream” but did not have an allergen alert for milk.
We contacted McDonald’s to clear up the confusion. Ashley called me back and said it was an error. The word “cream” now appears in the entry. Later, Amanda, a supervisor on the consumer hotline at McDonald’s, confirmed that cream is a standard part of the menu item. Upon ordering, patrons must request that it not be added.
The word “cream” does appear in the entry at this time but there is no “contains: milk” in bold after it. Other entries containing milk products do have this allergen alert in the Ingredients Statement, but the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal does not. We have mentioned this to a supervisor on the McDonald’s hotline. She stated that “it’s common knowledge” that “cream” is a milk product.
(At the end of February 2011, The VRG noticed a similar confusion with the low-fat granola, served in a separate packet along with the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait (which contains gelatin, an animal-derived ingredient). Two entries are listed. One entry for granola (which contains honey) includes the milk allergen alert while the second does not. Neither ingredient list appears to contain milk products.)
Readers may also note that McDonald’s acknowledges that there is no maple syrup or maple sugar derived from maple trees in McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. This became an issue in Vermont due to laws regarding how the word “maple” is used in products and how it appears on labels. Through settlement, McDonald’s has agreed to offer maple syrup and sugar as options in its Fruit and Maple Oatmeal sold in that state.
Fruit & Maple Oatmeal is offered throughout the day at McDonald’s restaurants. Patrons must make their preferences clear when ordering if they do not wish the cream or other components to be added.
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