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Former MythBuster goes on McDonald's french fry fact-finding hunt

Stashed in: Advertising, MythBusters, Fast Food, @iamjohnoliver

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Even though the fries are dipped in various ingredients, fried and frozen, Imahara discovers that they do come from real potatoes. McDonald's uses a variety of potatoes, including Ranger Russet, Umatilla Russet, Russet Burbank and Shepody. And according to Neher in the video, McDonald's does not useGMO (genetically modified organism) potatoes for its french fries.

"Potatoes are just like people," Neher tells Imahara in the video. "They come in different shapes and sizes."

But the best part of the behind-the-scenes process is seeing Imahara get excited about the massive potato-cutting machine that looks like a giant wood chipper or an industrial weapon that clearly needs to be featured in a horror film.

"It works similarly to a cannon," Neher explains to Imahara. "We're lining up the potatoes in the tube with high-pressure water and shooting them into the water knife. It's precision cutting."

"That is crazy!" Imahara responds as he holds up the grid of sharp edges that slice the potatoes up to his face. "How fast do they fly through here?"

"Sixty to 70 miles per hour," Neher answers.

isn't this an ad?

So it is.  It's not working.

McDonald's U.S. Fries Have Three Times as Many Ingredients as Those in the UK

Over on Boing Boing, blogger Mark Frauenfelder points out that that McDonald's locations in the UK serve up fries made from a much simpler recipe. The official McDonald's UK site reveals that they use just five ingredients in their fries: Potatoes, two kinds of oil, dextrose, and salt. Frauenfelder writes that "notably absent" from the UK version but found stateside is methylpolysiloxane, "a commonly used anti-foaming agent that's also an ingredient used to make Silly Putty."

McDonald's should probably get their American fries in check as soon as possible if they hope to improve their image and possibly increase sales. McDonald's spent most of 2014 struggling fiscally and prospects are not looking up. The Wall Street Journal reports that the chain announced a "21% drop in earnings for the latest quarter" this week.

Still, their potato cannon is cool!

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