Sorry to report Hardee’s does not use a dedicated fryer for its fries. Even though the regular fries do not have any gluten-containing ingredients, it’s highly likely use of the same oil for onion rings and other gluten-containing menu items would result in cross contamination.
I still think it would be a great idea for the company to make the move to dedicated fryers, especially since they have reached out to the gluten-free community. I am trying to get in touch with a company rep to talk about that possibility.
Meanwhile, the burger, the breakfast bowl, and the salad, as well as a few other items, are gluten free. You can download special gluten-free coupons at http://www.hardees.com/menu/indulge that will give you a free Coke or Dasani bottled water with the purchase of the breakfast bowl and a free salad with the purchase of a burger and a Coke.
One positive way to look at this is that the salad is better for you than the fries anyway.
Will let you know if I make any progress on the dedicated fryer.
It looks like Hardee’s, a fast food restaurant with locations in 42 states, is making a push for gluten-free customers.
The chain got in touch with me through Twitter today to let me know it offers several gluten-free menu items. It also got in touch with the other gluten-free publications and bloggers on Twitter to spread the word.
According to the Hardee’s website, you can get almost any burger wrapped in fresh, whole leaf iceberg lettuce, ala California’s In -N-Out Burger chain. The fries and the breakfast bowl are also gluten free. The website warns you to stay away from the onion rings and chicken, which both contain gluten.
In fact the website has an ingredient and allergen guide that tells you what’s in every menu item and conveniently marks those that contain wheat and wheat gluten with a W.
The charbroiled chicken breast has a W because it seasoned and glazed with wheat-containing soy sauce. And the country potatoes and the crispy curls contain wheat flour. But the mashed potatoes, coleslaw and most of the ice cream are among the items that appear to be gluten-free.
The one downside is that allergen guide notes that the restaurant does not have an allergen-free environment in the kitchen.
I’m not sure if that means the regular fries are made in the same oil as gluten-containing items or not. I contacted Hardee’s and will let you know what the story is when they get back to me. It would be nice if they already make the fries in separate oil. But if dedicated fryers are not used, perhaps the company would be willing to show just how serious it is about meeting gluten-free needs by switching to them.
Meanwhile, it’s nice to see yet another company reach out to the gluten-free community. Just remember even when it’s gluten free, fast food should not be a substitute for a healthy gluten-free diet. It’s nice in a pinch or as an occasional treat or convenience, but you should mainly be eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat protein.