#McDo-“-Tout sur les frites ” –Why does McDonald’s use 14 different ingredients to make French fries?

The ingredients, taken from McDonald’s web site (Page on www1.mcdonalds.ca) are:

  1. Potatoes
  2. canola oil
  3. hydrogenated soybean oil
  4. safflower oil
  5. natural flavour (vegetable source)
  6. dextrose
  7. sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain colour)
  8. citric acid (preservative)
  9. dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent)

Since you asked about 14 ingredients, I assume you’ve been reading one of those anti-science, scare-mongering food woo sites where they’re frightened of things they can’t pronounce and, clearly, can’t even count. (I’ll bet they double-counted the oils by not reading carefully.)

What we have here are potatoes fried in a vegetable oil blend. They have been treated with a mild acid to keep them from turning brown, some vegetable based flavoring, and a natural preservative. The ooh-scary dimethylpolysiloxane is also known as simethicone. It’s commonly used in pharmaceuticals, particularly to relieve bloating and belching. Note that means it’s safe to eat in doses far higher than you could ever get in French fries.

So why do they use 14? They don’t. And the ingredients they use are pretty clearly to provide a consistent product in a fast food environment and allow prepped fries to be transported and stored.

Gourmet? No. Scary? Hardly.

From now on I’d steer clear of wherever you read about 14 ingredients.


In a recent development, the FDA has decided that hydrogenated fats aren’t such a good idea: FDA Ban on Harmful Trans Fats Expected Soon. This doesn’t change the fact that there’s a safe dose for anything, and it really means that this kind of fat should form a very small part of your diet.

Other commenters have mentioned that my link was to the Canadian ingredients. True enough, as that was the first search result. The PDF with the US recipe has the same number of ingredients, but with “Natural Beef Flavor” replacing the “natural [vegetable] flavour”. Read it here: Page on mcdonalds.com.

I also want to clear up that I was criticizing the OP’s source(s) of information, not the OP. Every site where I found these dire “14 ingredient warnings” was an anti-science, scare mongering site. Perhaps there are more responsible sites that have picked up that meme, but I doubt it.

Finally, to those who think I’m shilling for an eeeeevil corporation: I don’t even like McDonald’s. I haven’t eaten there in years. But I don’t like efforts to demonize foods because that’s just unscientific and unhealthy. Trying to scare people away from food X or ingredient Y is our new national eating disorder.


About jonwadier

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2 Responses to #McDo-“-Tout sur les frites ” –Why does McDonald’s use 14 different ingredients to make French fries?

  1. jonwadier says:

    I am 90% vegetarian (meaning I will eat eggs and meat once in a while)

    I am against McDo & I don’t go to McDo –except to hangout sometimes 🙂

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