Fact Check: Xylitol Is NOT An Ingredient Found In McDonald's Ice Cream -- But Xylitol IS Harmful To Dogs

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Xylitol Is NOT An Ingredient Found In McDonald's Ice Cream -- But Xylitol IS Harmful To Dogs No Xylitol

Does McDonald's ice cream contain xylitol, a type of sugar that is harmful to dogs? This claim contains falsehood and some truth: No, McDonald's ice cream does not contain xylitol. A spokesperson from McDonald's USA told Lead Stories that its "soft serve, found in our cones and other desserts, does not contain xylitol." However, according to the FDA, xylitol poisons dogs and could become deadly, if ingested.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published on April 11, 2022. It read:

Just so everyone knows. McDonalds ice cream has xylitol sugar in it. Don't feed any of their ice cream to your pets. Xylitol sugar is toxic to dogs and will kill them in a hour. Please...

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2022-04-15 at 10.27.07 AM.png

Facebook screenshot(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Apr 15 14:28:01 2022 UTC)

In the abstract of this peer-reviewed, scientific article, xylitol is described as a sugar alcohol that is commonly used as a sweetener. It even has some health benefits to humans.

The McDonald's ice cream ingredients are available to read on the company's website. The ingredients for its vanilla cone (archived here) are: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate. Here and here are the ingredient lists for its chocolate ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream, respectively -- neither contain xylitol. We contacted McDonald's and McDonald's USA sent Lead Stories an email on April 15, 2022, disputing the claim:

These claims are false. Our soft serve, found in our cones and other desserts, does not contain xylitol.

Xylitol could poison your dog if ingested, according to the FDA. The FDA recommends that if a dog has recently eaten a product that contains xylitol, the owner takes them to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Further down on the FDA page about how xylitol is poisonous for dogs, there is a list of foods that may contain xylitol.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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