Grant Imahara, of Mythbusters fame, recently visited the McDonald’s fry factory to find out exactly what McDonald’s fries are made of. During the process, Imahara “reverse-engineered” McDonald’s fries to find out the 15 ingredients that they are made up of. The ingredients are as follows:
- Canola oil
- Soybean oil
- Hydrogenated soybean oil
- Natural beef flavor
- Hydrolyzed wheat
- Hydrolyzed milk
- Citric acid
- Sodium acid pyrophosphate
- Hydrogenated oil
- TBHQ (Tertiary butylhydroquinone)
The three main offenders found in this list of ingredients are dimethylpolysiloxane, TBHQ and hydrogenated soybean oil.
Dimethylpolysiloxane is a compound that is commonly used in aquarium tank sealants, hair conditioners and silly putty. Sometimes it can even contain formaldehyde, a well-known toxic chemical that has been linked to brain damage, allergies, autoimmune disorders and cancer.
TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, is a type of phenol that is used to prevent deterioration of food, however it is often found in substances such as perfume and bio-diesel.
Hydrogenated soybean oil has come under criticism for the unhealthy effects it has on people who consume in regularly. According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, at least 100,000 cardiac deaths that happen every year in the United States could have been prevented “if people replaced trans fat with healthier non hydrogenated polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils.”
The release of this information for the public is part of what McDonalds calls the “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign, which is an initiative to make nutritional information more available for customers.
Although McDonald’s has been making their ingredients information more transparent due to customer demand, they have made no indication of any plans on changing their ingredients for the same reason.