Shocking Ingredients in McDonald’s French Fries

It would be fair to assume that there are three ingredients in McDonald’s French fries:  potatoes, oil, and salt.  But if you assumed that you’d be far from correct.

Starting last year McDonald’s began a transparency campaign most likely to create a more health- and consumer-conscious image of the corporation.  As a result the company has made their ingredient lists and processing techniques available on their website. Out of curiosity, I had to know exactly what is in those fries.

It turns out that there are 17 ingredients in MickeyD’s French fries!  They contain:

-Potatoes (whew! I’m glad that was the first ingredient)

-Canola oil—Most canola oil is now genetically-modified.

-Hydrogenated soybean oil—Like canola oil, most soybean oil is now extracted from genetically-modified soybeans. Plus the hydrogenation process makes the oil more saturated than it would be in its natural form, and unhealthy.

-Safflower oil—Believed to be a healthier cooking oil, most safflower is unfortunately heated to high temperatures long before it is ever used for cooking, causing it to be chemically-altered from the heat, and a source of inflammation in the body when that is the case.

-”Natural flavor”—McDonald’s natural flavor is apparently obtained from a vegetable source, but the “natural” moniker means nothing since it can even potentially contain the nerve- and brain-toxin monosodium glutamate (MSG).

-Dextrose—a type of sugar.

-Sodium acid pyrophosphate—This ingredient is apparently used to maintain the color of the fries.  On the chemical industry’s own safety data sheets it is listed as hazardous for ingestion, which is exactly what you’ll be doing if you eat those French fries.

-Citric acid—used as a preservative.

-Dimethylpolysiloxane—used as an anti-foaming agent, this industrial chemical is typically used in caulking and sealants and comes with a list of safety concerns.

-Vegetable oil for frying, which is a blend of 7 ingredients, including:  canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), citric acid, and dimethylpolysiloxane.  We discussed most of these ingredients above.  Corn oil, like its canola and soybean counterparts is now primarily made of genetically-modified corn.

TBHQ is a petroleum-based, butane-like (yes, that’s lighter fluid!) ingredient used as a preservative.  It has been linked to asthma, skin conditions, hormone disruption, and in long-term animal studies to cancer and damage to DNA.

Contrary to what McDonald’s may claim in its slogan, I’m NOT lovin’ it!

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D E Martin
D E Martin2 months ago

not appetizing at all

Rosslyn O.
Rosslyn O.2 months ago

Thank you Jimmy C. This just seems to be a witch hunt against this particular company, sadly. As I mentioned in the article for the Mac Donald's Chicken Nuggets... to many 'may be or could be' for my liking and no real conclusive validation. I'm pleased you did your homework.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers2 months ago


Jimmy C.
Jimmy C.2 months ago

I read your article and went through to validate the claims that were being made and found it very lacking in the science department.

Just because something is a GMO doesn't make it bad. Many of the GMO changes don't enter the food supply. So just claiming it is GMO and thus bad is a bad claim.

Sodium acid pyrophosphate - looked up the "food grade" version and it is safe for ingestion. All products will list on the MSDS they are not safe for ingestion unless they are the food grade type. So please make sure you are looking up what they are using not something "close".

Dimethylpolysiloxane - as been used in medicine since the early 1960s, for surgery involving the stomach for anti-foaming. The doses they use hundreds of times greater than the does you would get from the fries, and have been shown in study after study to be safe.

TBHQ is effectively inert in the human body and passes through with almost no absorption by the digestive tract, the little that is absorbed is filtered out easily by the kidneys.

All of the stuff in the fries are safe except for eating lots of greasy fries.

Elaine W.
Past Member 2 months ago

Naomi (next comment down) is right but I don't eat them anyway.

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer2 months ago

Thanks. Since the article is 3 years old MAYBE things have improved.

Ruth S.
Ruth S.2 months ago

Good thing I don't eat a lot of French fries!

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 months ago

Thank you

sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner2 months ago

I have never cared for Mc Donalds food.