The Perfect French Fry

Most likely. The corporation is the largest buyer of potatoes in the United States. They buy their potatoes from the same source that all other fast food joints do though. So, if Mickey D’s is serving up Frankenfries, you’re eating them at Wendy’s, Arby’s and just about anywhere else too. In case you’re wondering, since the 1990s this would be a Russet Burbank variety known as New Leaf, and yes it’s a Monsanto creation.

Just what is it then that makes McDonald’s fries so much better than other brands? They used to be soaked in sugar and fried in beef fat. Now they’re soaked in sugar and fried in vegetable oil, but the flavor that made this fast food giant a global favorite is now done by adding natural and artificial flavorings. They claim that the sugar water maintains good potato color, but it definitely changes the texture of the taters when they’re cooked… along with the other 16 ingredients that are found in Mickey D fries. Everyone else serves up fries with 3 ingredients: potatoes, salt, and oil.

Okay, so the oil is definitely the product of genetically modified crops. Cottonseed oil, canola oil and hydrogenated soy oil are all big GMO crop products. They’ve increased the potatoes’ ability to remain white rather than discolored by adding sodium acid pyrophosphate. Now the sugar is more of a flavoring and texturizer than a preservative, as is the extremely high levels of refined sodium present in everything you can order at McDonalds. Salt, as you probably know has been linked to high blood pressure, cellular dehydration, and a variety of health issues.

There’s also a silicone known as dimethylpolysiloxane as an anti-foaming agent which is actually a type of silicone. While approved by the FDA in ‘dispersed form,’ is a skin and eye irritant, and has been linked to severe inflammation upon direct contact, inhalation, or ingestion in its undispersed form. Probably not something you want in your food.

They did look into switching to a greener potato a couple of years ago. It seems no other potato variety provided that quintessential Mickey D french fry experience. Perhaps that’s due to the missing pesticides used in bring the crop to harvest. Russet Burbank potato fields are heavily doused in chemicals to ensure that there is a harvest. They also have the highest sugar levels of all potatoes, which is why a McDonald fry is never dry and mealy – well, that and the sugar they add to them.

Quite a pile of reasons to forget McDonalds even exists. If you stop eating there for a long period of time, their hamburgers tastes revolting anyway. They don’t likely care about that though, beause they make a lot more profit off of french fries.

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Tammy Clayton

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine

Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home.