No plastic: How McDonald’s makes its fries [Video]

McDonald's lifts the curtain on its fry-making process.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Are McDonald’s fries made of plastic? Indestructible? Hardly, according to a new video from the Golden Arches.

As part of an ongoing transparency initiative from the chain’s Canadian outpost, the company shows viewers exactly how the potato snacks are made.

The host: Scott Gibson, a supply chain manager for McDonald’s Canada. The setting: a farm, a processing plant and a restaurant. The challenge: To show the French fry journey “farm to fryer.”


The video shows potatoes being harvested and sorted at Levesque Farms in New Brunswick before being cut at McCain Processing Plant.

McDonald’s fries are never molded, or “formed,” into the thin strips consumers see, according to Gibson. Instead, they’re machine-sliced, blanched to remove their natural sugars and prevent discoloration, then coated in a “textural solution” to even out the look. Finally, excess moisture is dried out of the potato slivers before they’re sent to a frying strip for 45 to 60 seconds.

The fries also include an ingredient – unnamed – meant to keep them from graying. The food is then frozen, packaged and shipped off to various McDonald’s locations.

In Canada, the fries are cooked in pure vegetable oil, Gibson said. Customers can also ask for the fries to be served sans salt; otherwise the restaurants dump roughly a tablespoon of salt on each basket of fries – about four orders apiece.

Earlier videos from the fast food behemoth show the company making a burger look delicious in advertisements and constructing a Big Mac from scratch. In recent months, the chain has steadily posted answers to questions posed on its website, including “Do you use red slime in your meat?” and “How do you afford to sell your food so cheap?”

The truth-telling campaign serves to combat attacks on McDonald’s food and policies, including time-lapse footage from filmmaker Morgan Spurlock showing the chain’s fries looking pristine instead of moldy and decomposed weeks after purchase.



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