McDonald's French fries.
McDonald's French fries. Photo: 123rf.com

Potato. Oil. Salt. These three ingredients should be all it takes to make a French fry, right? Even the salt's (almost) optional. Well, no. Not if you're McDonald's in the US which uses a whopping 19 ingredients to make its "World Famous Fries". The fries sold at Macca's Australian stores, meanwhile, contain just four main ingredients.

In a video released last week on the McDonald's YouTube channel, Grant Imahara, of Mythbusters fame, explains how McDonald's chips in the US contain a bunch of other ingredients besides spuds, oil, and sodium. There's citric acid, dextrose  (a type of sugar used to achieve the fries' uniform golden colour), corn oil, something called "natural beef flavour", hydrolyzed wheat, hydrolyzed milk, and many other items with a headache-inducing amount of syllables.

Ingredients like hydrolyzed wheat ensure the fries have a consistent taste everywhere, every time, according to the video.

McDonald's Australia customers don't need to worry about consuming a laboratory of flavour enhancers when scoffing errant fries from the bottom of a takeaway bag, though. Macca's Australia fries contain potato, canola oil, dextrose and mineral salt. There may be traces of sulphites (less than 10 milligrams per kilogram).

Golden Arches fries in Australia are cooked in a canola oil blend of containing canola oil, high oleic canola oil, sunflower oil, and a small amount of palm oil.

Palm oil production has attracted global criticism for damage done to Indonesian rainforests, the natural habitat of orangutans.

A spokesperson for McDonald's says all canola oil blend distributed to its Australian stores will be 100 per cent palm oil-free from February 1, 2015.