The right to choose

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 12:00am

It is unbelievably hypocritical for the Vegetarian Society and the Muslim community in Hong Kong to complain about McDonald's restaurants' preferred use of animal fat to make French fries.

The onus is on those people with dietary restrictions to make sure that they know what their food is cooked in. It is then up to them to decide whether or not they wish to patronise a specific establishment.

In the report headlined, 'McDonald's fries into trouble over animal oil' (South China Morning Post, July 3), Mohamed Alli Din, the chairman of the United Muslim Association of Hong Kong, seemed prepared to force his diet on to the rest of the public and deny the freedom of choice for the rest of us to enjoy the particularly tasty fries provided by McDonald's.

It is my right, just as it is Mr Din's right, to choose my restaurants.

All a potential customer has to do is ask. I speak from personal experience. My son is severely allergic to peanuts and legumes. I therefore make inquiries before going to a restaurant.

We simply avoid those restaurants which use peanut oil, or which refuse to divulge details about the kind of oils used in cooking.

How did I know that McDonald's uses beef fat for frying?

I asked when I had to travel with my son. I have found Web sites dedicated to peanut allergies which explain the ways in which you can approach restaurants for the appropriate information.

To those people with specific dietary requirements my advice would be, do your own homework and leave the freedom of choice, be it religion or diet, to the individual.


Toronto, Ontario, Canada