Friday, April 17, 2009

McDonald's - Still Using Beef Flavoring?

Back in 2001, McDonald's had posted this message regarding beef flavoring in their hash browns and french fries:

"McDonald’s sincerely apologizes to Hindus, vegetarians and others for failing to provide the kind of information they needed to make informed dietary decisions at our U.S. restaurants.

We acknowledge that, upon our switch to vegetable oil in the early 1990’s for the purpose of reducing cholesterol, mistakes were made in communicating to the public and customers about the ingredients in our French fries and hash browns. Those mistakes included instances in which French fries and hash browns sold at U.S. restaurants were improperly identified as “vegetarian.”

We regret we did not provide these customers with complete information, and we sincerely apologize for any hardship that these miscommunications have caused among Hindus, vegetarians and others. We should have done a better job in these areas, and we’re committed to doing a better job in the future.

As a direct result of these events, McDonald’s has enhanced its disclosures concerning the source of ingredients in its food products. This information is available at McDonald’s website,, and will be available at each store.

McDonald’s has created a Dietary Practice/Vegetarian Advisory Panel consisting of experts in consumer dietary practices that will advise McDonald’s on relevant dietary restrictions and guidelines, which McDonald’s and others can use for marketing to persons who follow those restrictions. As part of this settlement, McDonald’s is donating $10 million to Hindu, vegetarian and other groups whose charitable and educational activities are closely linked to the concerns of these consumers."

I had thought that after this they had removed the beef flavoring, but I happened to check their ingredients list and discover that they have not. The fries and hash browns still list "natural beef flavor." It's a little confusing because they state "natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients," but that appears to be allergen information. In the 1990's they had stopped frying with beef fat, but they never stopped the beef flavoring.

Also, I noticed their on their list that yogurt contains gelatin, including the yogurt used in their parfait.

I avoid McDonald's in general for other reasons (see the book "Chew on This" below), and for that reason I did not talk about them on this blog. But I feel this is worth pointing out, because I know other people besides me who thought they got rid of the beef.

click here for McDonald's ingredients list


Beth Miner said...

This is great info! Thank you for posting it. :)

Unknown said...

Being completely honest. I am actually disturb by this (that mcdonalds puts beef extract in there french fries) but i can blame it all on them because it is partially my "duty" to look up what is in certain foods. But oh well i guess i wont be eatting at mcdonalds ever again

Thomasanddiesel said...

Hey in the UK their fries are now vegetarian society certified' it says on the website... then again it is mcdonalds...