New Egg Allergy Risk at Wendy’s!

Fast food. We can debate the health merits of consuming it, but one of the main reasons it is popular (besides speed) is the consistency of menu items around most of the country and even the world. For example, if my egg-allergic daughter is able to eat a Jr. Cheeseburger without mayo at a Wendy’s here in the Boston area, she likely can do so anywhere in the country.

Bad example. That’s no longer true.

Wendy’s recently announced a change in their burger-making process (as of 1/1/18) that renders many products previously “safe” for egg-allergic diners now UNSAFE even when requesting mayo be left off. Why? Wendy’s made a corporate-level decision that, rather than squirt mayo and ketchup on burgers with traditional squirt bottles, it is now better practice to spread condiments on with spoons (for consistency around the burgers). In other words, one spoon goes into a mayo bin and is then used to spread the mayo onto a burger bun while another spoon does the same with ketchup.

The result? NEW cross-contamination risk.

All hope is not lost if you’re a Wendy’s fan with an egg allergy, however. Wendy’s is recommending that if you want a burger without mayo but with ketchup that you ask the server for a burger leaving off both products, requesting ketchup packets instead that you can apply yourself. This is a reasonable solution (to a problem that maybe shouldn’t have arisen in the first place, but that’s Wendy’s prerogative).

I asked the company why not have a separate ketchup spoon for egg-allergic customers that would never touch mayo. The problem is that even this separate spoon would go into the same ketchup bin that the contaminated ketchup spoon does. So the only solution would be a separate ketchup bin as well, which they’re not going to do (and, frankly, could be confusing enough for young, inexperienced staff that it might actually increase the risk of cross-contact versus the currently proposed solution).

I believe FARE was the first to report on this yesterday and I thank them for finding and breaking the basics of this new news. It is important to note however that the “affected burgers” go beyond the 5 FARE mentioned (Double Stack, Jr. Hamburger and Cheeseburger, Kids Hamburger and Cheeseburger). In fact, the company told me that this change affects all burger products, except the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, which doesn’t come with ketchup anyway. Similarly, chicken sandwiches don’t have ketchup either (and some don’t have mayo as a standard ingredient).

The bottom line is that there’s a new risk at Wendy’s for those with egg allergies. There is a workaround in place that will allow you to still have all the products you previously enjoyed, but you MUST be aware of the new changes and how to now order your burgers.

This is reminiscent of Wendy’s “buttered bun issue” 7 years ago… but that’s another story.

Please be cautious, all of you, and of course ALWAYS have epinephrine with you when you dine out – at Wendy’s or anywhere!

Feel free to add your comments about this news and blog post below.

And while I’ve got you, please rate any recent restaurant experiences on the AllergyEats app or website. Rating a restaurant takes just a minute, but every new rating you add makes AllergyEats a more valuable resource for our entire food allergy community!

Comments

    Author:
    Dawn Carter
    Written:


    Thank you so much for the heads up! We eat at Wendy’s frequently during volleyball season. Fortunately the bad weather has kept us home recently and we haven’t been to Wendy’s for awhile. Good to know to be prepared. Thanks again for the info!

    Author:
    Leslie
    Written:


    Thank you so much for letting me know about this. My son is very allergic to eggs and we do go to Wendy’s occasionally as one of our “safe” restaurants.

    Author:
    Kristen Keene
    Written:


    We just walked out of the Wendy’s in Brighton, Mi because they were unwilling to help us. We stopped there after my son’s basketball game for a double stack which he has safely eaten for many years but not in the last several months. We checked the ingredients as we always do and found that the ingredient list indicated that all of their burgers contain egg. I went to attendant at the register to ask what changed and she looked at me with a blank stair. A man working the line went on to tell me they are not allowed to tell us anything except what is on the Poster in the lobby. So, I asked again what part of the burger has eggs and he went on to tell me that they can’t gaurantee anything just like any fast food restaurant. To which I replied that he was incorrect and that we have been doing this for a long 13 years. I am completely frustrated with Wendy’s and the employees complete lack of empathy.

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