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Are McDonald’s Fries Vegetarian?

are mcdonald's fries vegetarian

Do you love the crunchy and satisfying taste of McDonald’s fries?

For many people, this is the ultimate comfort food and brings a feeling of nostalgia. Many of us have happy memories of eating McDonald’s fries at times during childhood. However, if you are a vegetarian, you will understand the need to choose your food carefully. Many dishes that appear to be suitable for vegetarians actually contain hidden animal products.

If you are wondering, ‘are McDonald’s fries vegetarian?’, well, it’s time to find out…

McDonald’s Fries Fast Facts

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at these famous fries to discover why they are so popular. The fries appeared on the first McDonald’s menu when the company was founded in 1940. They are the company’s most popular menu item and even sell better than the signature Big Mac.

McDonald’s fries are cut using a special machine at the processing plant. They are then fried for sixty seconds and frozen before they are shipped. The frozen fries are then cooked for a second time at the restaurant when they are ordered.

High potato standards…

No matter which restaurant around the world you visit, you can enjoy the same crunchy fries. Only Russet Burbank, Innovator, and Russet Ranger potatoes are selected to create these fries. In most countries, the potatoes are grown locally, and the size and growing conditions are strictly controlled.

The Ingredients In McDonald’s Fries In The United States

The Ingredients

In the past, McDonald’s fries were cooked in animal lard, which gave many people pause for thought. Not only is this substance not vegetarian, but it also isn’t exactly a healthy cooking option. Based on feedback from customers, McDonald’s switched to using vegetable oil to cook their fries.

However, the company found that cooking the fries in vegetable oil made them lose their flavor. To rectify this, the company decided to add beef flavoring at the processing plant. This is a real problem for people who want to avoid products made from our bovine friends.

Wheat or dairy intolerants stay away…

When checking out the full ingredients list, there are also other elements you may want to avoid. It is no surprise that the first item on the list is potatoes. This is followed by vegetable oil, which is revealed to be a blend of canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and hydrogenated soybean oil.

The ingredients list reveals that the natural beef flavor contains wheat and milk. This could be a problem for people who are allergic to wheat or dairy. The other ingredients on the list are dextrose, sodium acid, and pyrophosphate.

What Is Natural Beef Flavoring?

In the ingredients list for fries on the McDonald’s menu, the company states that it uses ‘natural beef flavoring.’ This flavoring is added at the processing plant when the potatoes are par-fried. Both hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk are also added during this process.

Unfortunately, companies in the United States are not required to disclose the ingredients they use in flavor additives. The Food and Drug Administration simply needs to certify that the components are generally recognized as safe. This could easily mean that actual beef is used in the flavoring.

Beef flavoring contains beef…

Because meat is not a known allergen, it does not have to be disclosed in the list of flavorings. However, this does prevent the company from stating that their fries are suitable for vegetarians.

This is in stark contrast to the fact that the same fries are endorsed as suitable for vegetarians in other countries. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the ‘natural beef flavoring’ actually contains beef or other meat.

Are McDonald’s Fries Vegetarian? – The Nutritional Information

Even people who are OK with ingesting animal products should check out the nutritional information carefully. A medium portion of McDonald’s fries contains a whopping 320 calories. This increases to 490 calories if you choose the large size. Even the tiny kid’s portion contains 110 calories per serving.

A medium portion of fries contains 15 grams of total fat, which is 20% of the recommended daily amount. A medium serving of fries also contains 670 milligrams of potassium and 260 milligrams of sodium. Because McDonald’s fries come ready seasoned, it is not possible to simply skip the salt.

Are McDonald’s Fries Vegetarian In The UK?

If you are planning a trip to the United Kingdom, you can indulge in McDonald’s fries to avoid British cooking. The ingredients list consists simply of potatoes and a blend of non-hydrogenated vegetable oils. Salt is added after the fries are cooked, and it is possible to order unsalted fries if you want.

McDonald’s fries in the United Kingdom are completely vegan and are actually approved by the Vegetarian Society. The fries are cooked separately in their own vats. This is done to ensure that they do not come into contact with any animal products. If you fancy a little comfort food while in the UK, you can enjoy McDonald’s fries without concern.

Are McDonald’s Fries Vegetarian In Canada?

‘No products are certified as vegetarian; they may contain trace amounts of ingredients derived from animals.’ This is the official statement on McDonald’s Canada website. However, a close look at the ingredients list reveals that there is no mention of animal products.

The ingredients list for Canadian McDonald’s French Fries looks slightly complex at first glance. The first ingredient is potatoes, followed by high oleic low linolenic canola oil, and or canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil.

No guarantee for vegetarians…

The natural beef flavor is replaced by natural flavor. The ingredients list makes it clear that this natural flavor comes from a vegetable source.

McDonald’s fries are cooked separately from their animal products in Canada. However, there is no guarantee that cross-contamination with meat products does not occur. This could take place in the processing plant or the restaurant where the fries are cooked.

Are McDonald’s Fries Vegetarian In Australia?

The Australian McDonald’s website cautions customers that their menu items are not certified vegetarian. ‘While some ingredients may not contain animal ingredients, we can not guarantee that there will be no cross-contact with ingredients that do contain animal ingredients in our kitchens.’

This indicates that the fries could be cooked using the same equipment as egg and milk products. This could be a serious issue for allergy sufferers.

Vegetarian And Vegan Menu Items In The United States

Although many countries offer meat-free burgers in McDonald’s branches, they can be difficult to find in the United States. Special plant-based burgers have been launched on a trial basis in some cities. However, vegans still have to take care to specify that they don’t want cheese or mayonnaise.

If you are unable to find a branch offering a plant-based burger, your choices are very limited in the US. The breakfast oatmeal is vegetarian, while the apple slices are both vegetarian and vegan. You can also order a plain burger bun with salad, although you might not want to get fries with that.

Do Vegetarians And Vegans Eat at McDonald’s?

Eat at McDonald’s

These days, many popular fast-food chains around the world are starting to offer vegetarian and vegan menu options. These range from salads and cookies to burgers created from vegan meat alternatives. This move has been made to try and maintain a large customer base in the face of changing dietary habits.

In the United Kingdom and many other parts of the world, McDonald’s offers vegetarian and vegan menu items. However, for many people who choose not to ingest animal products, there are other reasons to avoid the restaurant chain. Many people cite ethical reasons that are linked to concerns over animal welfare.

Read more: Can Felons Get Welfare?

Even the carnivores like having the meat-free choice!

However, many vegetarians and vegans choose to enjoy animal-free menu items at McDonald’s. Many people feel that choosing these menu items shows the company there is a demand for them. Simply having these items on the menu encourages carnivores to choose them instead of meat.

Keeping Your Family Healthy At Home!

Cooking healthy meals at home is a great way to take care of your family, so check out The Brain Health Cookbook, or how about The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You’ll Want to Eat, as well as the Skinnytaste Meal Prep, or how to Cook for Your Gut Health, and the Clean Eating for Beginners book all available online in 2023.

Of course, for the strict vegetarian and vegans, we recommend using Delish Vegan Dinners: 70+ Amazing Weeknight Dinners, Colorful Salads, Plant-Based Spins on Comfort Classics, or how about The Weekday Vegetarians: 100 Recipes and a Real-Life Plan for Eating Less Meat: A Cookbook, and The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook: 500 Inspired, Flexible Recipes for Eating Well Without Meat.

But that’s not all! We also found The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well With 700 Foolproof Recipes, the Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body, and the Vegetarian Soul Food Cookbook: 75 Classic Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings for some delicious and healthy cooking.

Are McDonald’s Fries Vegetarian? – Final Thoughts

As you can see, McDonald’s fries in the US consist of much more than potatoes, a little salt, and some oil. Even if you are not vegetarian, some of the ingredients in the fries may give you pause for thought. People who are lactose intolerant or allergic to wheat should probably avoid these fries. Unless you are visiting a McDonald’s in the UK, it is best to avoid McDonald’s fries.

If you are careful about what you eat, it is probably best to skip a visit to McDonald’s altogether. With a little research, it is possible to find fast-food chains that offer more natural vegetarian fries.

Making home fries can also be a more natural and satisfying alternative whenever you want a tasty treat.

Well, I’m still lovin’ it and my McDonalds Fries!

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