I get why people are mad. Even I’m a little frustrated, but I’m not mad. I get it.
Here’s the deal: Having a kid with a nut allergy is terrifying. We worry about our son coming in contact with peanuts basically every waking second of every day. My sister is also allergic to peanuts, so I’ve been exposed to this allergy my entire life.
But the thing is, you can’t bubble wrap your family. At some point, my son is going to be exposed to nuts. It’s inevitable. Yes, we’ve mitigated the exposure by choosing a nut-free school and obviously having a peanut-free household, but he lives in the world with other people. Even in a nut-free environment, there’s nothing to stop a parent from giving their kid peanut butter for breakfast before school. Our job is to teach him how to avoid coming into contact with peanuts.
McDonald’s is a business and has an obligation to maximize profits in a safe manner. At no point has the company said it’s going to start tossing peanuts around willy nilly in the kitchen. It’s going to be as safe as any other restaurant is.
The people who run the fast food chain have obviously calculated that the potential risks are significantly less than the potential sales. The timing is a bit off from a PR perspective because the nut revelation is overshadowing the announcement of all-day breakfast, but that strategic error will end up as a minor blip in the big picture.
“…a public relations blizzard arrived in the form of a Skor McFlurry.
The new dessert’s introduction on Jan. 17 was accompanied by a message from the quick-serve food chain that it would be the company’s first product to contain non-packaged peanuts or tree nuts. Accordingly, McDonald’s Canada warned consumers all of its dishes “may contain” peanuts, tree nuts or other allergens.
The backlash was swift from those who had viewed McDonald’s as a fairly safe haven among large chains for those with food allergies.”
McDonald’s feels like a safe haven for families with nut allergies because it has good control over its kitchen, but that doesn’t mean it was ever actually 100 per cent safe, and that’s because there’s no such thing.
People with nut allergies are never safe. Yes, that’s a scary proposition, but it’s just reality and we have to embrace and understand reality.
We’ll continue to give our son his McNugget Happy Meal because it makes him happy and it’s as safe an option as any other restaurant. We’ll continue to be vigilant. We’ll always have two Epipens on us just in case.
We’ll always hope and strive for the safest environment possible, but we have to recognize that we can’t control everything and this kid is going to grow up and has to learn how to keep himself safe.
That responsibility is ours, not McDonald’s.