Why Do McDonald's French Fries Taste So Good? TikToker Says the 'Secret' Is in the Oil And It May Be Bad News for Vegetarians The little-known additive in McDonald's cooking oil has sparked controversy for decades.
Jordan Howlett, 26, a content creator who highlights less popularized (and sometimes controversial) facts about common brands, went viral after claiming he knows "why McDonald's fries taste different from everybody else's fries."
In a TikTok shared on April 15, which has since been viewed over 10 million times, Howlett claims that McDonald's uses "beef flavoring mixed within their vegetable oil" to make its signature fries. "So that's why the fries taste so good but also so different," he alleges.
The TikToker may be on to something. On McDonald's website, the chain says: "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 company also lists "Natural Beef Flavor" in the item's nutritional information.
While this is bad news for vegetarians, the TikToker said the "beef flavoring" isn't added in Canada and Australia. McDonald's UK website says the fries are "not coated in any fats or substances from an animal" and are "100 percent suitable for vegans."
However, despite little research on the topic, a 2015 report from Eater alleged that natural beef flavoring doesn't necessarily derive from beef and may still be considered vegetarian.
This isn't the first time McDonald's has been in hot water over the "beef flavoring" in its French fries. After the franchise switched to cooking in vegetable oil in the 1990s, a lawsuit alleged that the brand failed to disclose the ingredient and mislead consumers, according to The New York Times.
After causing an uproar in India, the McDonald's Corporation issued an apology in 2002 and was asked to pay $10 million to vegetarian and religious groups.
Entrepreneur reached out to McDonald's for comment.