McDonald's [beef] Fries

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I've never liked McDonald's french fries. Despite many claims that they are 'the best fast food fries ever!,' I still preferred Wendy's back in the day...

Perhaps this explains why:

For decades McDonald's cooked it's french fries in a mixture of about seven percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow.  The mixture gave the fries their unique flavor - and more saturated fat per ounce than a McDonald's hamburger.

In 1990, amid a barrage of criticism over the amount of cholesterol in it's fries, McDonald's switched to pure vegetable oil.  This presented the company with a challenge: how to make fries that subtly taste like beef without cooking them in beef tallow.  A look at the ingredients in McDonald's french fries suggests how the problem was solved.  Towards the end of the list is a seemingly innocuous yet oddly mysterious phrase: "natural flavor."

[An excerpt from Fast Food Nation on Rense.com]

A look at the actual Mcdonald's nutrition list reveals the following ingredients:

French Fries:

Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK *(Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients).

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned potatoes, vegetable oil, & salt?