does mcdonald’s use beef fat in fries

Like most fried foods, McDonald’s fries are cooked in canola oil. But this didn’t used to be the case. Beef tallow was initially used because the supplier for the chain couldn’t afford vegetable oil. As health concerns over saturated fat grew in the 1990s, McDonald’s finally made the switch to vegetable oil.

If youre a fan of McDonalds, chances are youre also a fan of their French fries. As a staple on the McDonalds menu, their salty perfection, smooth inner texture, and overt crispiness makes them simply irresistible (at least, if top-rated appraisals like this one on Thrillist are any indication). But despite their reputation among fast food fans, the franchises French fries have a not-so-great history — one that many have either forgotten about or never knew about in the first place.

Lets set the scene. The year was 1990. Maybe you were a kid, enjoying those delicious fries courtesy of your Happy Meal, completely oblivious to the coming storm which would ultimately envelop those precious potato bits. Or maybe you were old enough to read about the incident or see it on the news. Either way, heres the gist of it: In response to decades of health-conscious consumer complaints, the restaurant made the tough decision to remove an ingredient from their cooking oil. But when McDonalds made the change, some consumers felt misinformed and misled over a decade later. A greater backlash ensued — only this time, it was for a completely different reason.

McDonald’s cooked its fries in beef tallow for decades

Founded in 1940, McDonalds initially used 93% beef fat tallow for their French fries in an effort to save money, according to a piece on the origins of the favored fast food item published by Atlas Obscura. The money-saving decision resulted in a meaty flavor that unexpectedly gave the fries their signature taste so singularly unique that McDonalds eventually trademarked their menu item as their “World Famous Fries,” according to their website. This remained the case until 1985, but things changed years later after the launch of a campaign designed to wage war against the fast food empire.

Per Atlas Obscura, it all began when a multi-millionaire businessman named Phil Sokolof had a heart attack at 43 in 1966. Following his recovery, Sokolof attributed the cardiac event to his diet, so he began researching the correlation between high-fat foods and heart health. This prompted him to found an organization he named the National Heart Savers Association, with the aim of spotlighting Mcdonalds — and, to be fair, other fast food restaurants — with claims that their beloved, beef tallow-laden fries, along with other high cholesterol foods found on their menu, contributed to heart disease (via The New York Times).

After spending at least $15 million campaigning against McDonalds for more than two decades, Sokolof got the attention of consumers, per Atlas Obscura. In 1990, McDonalds eventually responded to the pressure by replacing their beef tallow will vegetable oil. But the story didnt end there.

No. Our fries are not coated in any fats or substances from an animal. McDonalds UK French Fries are made by McCains using Russet Burbank, Pentland Dell and Shepody potatoes, which are chosen for their quality, taste and long shape when cut. Once at the restaurant, our fries are simply cooked in dedicated frying vats in a non-hydrogenated blend of sunflower and rapeseed oil which is 100 percent suitable for vegetarians. In fact, McDonalds French Fries are officially accredited by the Vegetarian Society.

Like most fried foods, McDonald’s fries are cooked in canola oil. But this didn’t used to be the case. Beef tallow was initially used because the supplier for the chain couldn’t afford vegetable oil. As health concerns over saturated fat grew in the 1990s, McDonald’s finally made the switch to vegetable oil.

FAQ

Does McDonald’s use beef oil for fries?

Yes. When our suppliers partially fry our cut potatoes, they use an oil blend that contains beef flavoring. This ensures the great-tasting and recognizable flavor we all love from our World Famous Fries®. The Fries are cooked in our kitchens, seasoned with salt, and served hot to you.

When did McDonald’s stop using beef fat for fries?

In 1990, the company announced that they would replace the beef tallow with 100 percent vegetable oil. After the announcement, McDonald’s stock fell 8.3 percent. The new fry didn’t stack up. As it turns out, the beef tallow had added more than just cholesterol to the signature french fry.

Does McDonald’s still cook fries in animal fat?

What kind of oil does McDonalds use in their fries? We use 100 % vegetable oil Now. There is often some old fry parts and potato flavor in the fryer oil, but we do filter often. The oil is changed every morning for our 24 hour store.

Can vegetarians eat McDonald’s french fries?

In India and the UK, McDonald’s restaurant fries are vegetarian as they do not contain any meat and are not cross-contaminated. However, if you are in the U.S., Australia, Canada or most other countries, McDonald’s french fries are not vegetarian due to the beef flavor + cross contamination issues.

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