Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Consumer Reports Looks At Fries

The August 2009 issue of Consumer Reports magazine (now on news stands) takes a look at the fast food french fry.

Many of the major fast food chains have gone "Trans Fat Free" with their french fries and Consumer Reports has confirmed that the fries at Burger King, McDonald's and Wendy's are, in fact, free of trans-fats.

(Note: McDonald's has NOT eliminated trans fat from their new Angus Third Pounder burgers... more on that tomorrow.)

Further, they have found that the fries taste about the same as they used to.

Consumer Reports ranked Wendy's and McDonald's fries as "very good" and Burger King's fries as "good."

One of their observations about the Burger King fries is that they "Taste more of oil than potato."

In the August issue of Consumer Reports and archived online.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Healthiest French Fries

A WebMD nutritionist took a look at fast food french fries with an eye to which are the healthiest (and which or the worst for you).

She concluded that Sonic's regular fries are the healthiest fast food french fry choice because they are lowest in calories, fat grams, percentage of calories from fat ant total amount of "bad fats." The runner up was McDonald's.

The worst: Carl's Jr. Natural Cut French Fries and Jack in the Box Natural Cut fries which are the highest in calories and grams of fat and are shockingly high in "bad fats" (4 grams saturated fat and 5 grams trans fat).

read the rest at WebMD.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

World's Largest French Fry Found at Arby's

In June of 2003 Simon Holland sold his 6.75 inch french fry from Culver's in Wisconsin for $200 on ebay! 

In July of 2006 a 9.5 inch fry was cooked up at Bobu's Steak House in Topeka, KS.  The restaurant's owner, Bob Radke, said it came out of the bag of frozen fries just that way.  Radke named it the "Patriot Fry" and put it in his freezer.

And here's a kid on Flickr with a giant fry.

But they have NOTHING on a teen from Traveler's Rest (aka 'TR'), South Carolina.

Hannah Odom went to an Arby's in Hendersonville, SC and ordered some curly fries with her meal.  When she reached in to eat one of the curly fries, she couldn't get it out of the package.  When she finally got it out it was quite lengthy.

How lengthy?  Almost 24 inches, yes, 2 FEET long.  And that's not even stretched out all the way.

Odom is hoping her french fry makes it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest french fry.  She resisted both primary temptations: to eat it and to sell it on ebay.

She has wrapped it in foil, put it in her fridge and contacted the Guinness Book of World Records.

A 2 foot long fast food french fry! That's got to make it into Guinness.

She expects to hear from Guinness in 3-4 weeks. We'll keep you posted, but for now, watch this local news story on the super fry:

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Wendy's cooking with trans fat free oil

I realize I mentioned this yesterday in my post about Wendy's new Frescata Italiana sandwich and back in June when they announced the change, but it bears repeating now that the switch is complete.

Wendy's is now cooking with oil that has zero grams of trans fat per serving at its 6,000 U.S. restaurants.

"Wendy's has kept its promise to its customers," said Wendy's Interim CEO Kerrii Anderson. "After two years of research and development, we said in June that we would convert to the new cooking oil by the end of August. We're proud to announce that this process is now complete."

With the move, Wendy's becomes the first major quick service restaurant chain to switch to a non-hydrogenated cooking oil for its French fries and chicken items.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Not Biggie, but bigger at Wendy's

Wendy's is doing away with the 'Biggie' drink size and returning to the terms everybody else uses: small, medium and large.

The difference is, though, that Wendy's us increasing the size of all their drinks. What was medium is now a small, etc. So now, small is a 20 ounce drink, medium is 32 ounces and a new 42 ounce size is a called a large. I'll say! 42 ounces is 1.2 liters (or 5 1/4 cups... a third of gallon). Wendy's will still sell a 16 ounce drink on its 99 cent value menu.

But I guess giant drink sizes don't have to matter.... if you order a diet soda!

And FYI, at Wendy's you can substitute a bottle of Dasani water for a soft drink (and you can substitute items such as a side salad, chili or yogurt and granola for french fries, regardless of the combo size).

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Wendy's cuts trans fat

Wendy's is being applauded for their switch to a non-hydrogenated cooking oil. The new oil, used for cooking French fries and breaded chicken items, will result in a significant reduction of trans fat.

Wendy's will begin using the new corn and soy oil in all their North American restaurants this summer.

Wendy's breaded chicken sandwiches, nuggets and strips will have zero grams of trans fat. Trans fats in French fry offerings will range from zero to 0.5 grams depending on size. Kids' Meal nuggets and fries will have zero grams of trans fat.

This is a step in the healthy direction for Wendy's who, as we reported in December, pulled their healthy fruit salad because of slow sales.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals substitute mono and polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats, and consume as little trans fat as possible as part of a healthful diet.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Now McDonald's admits allergens in fries

Less than a week after admitting that their french fries have a third more trans fat than they had previously reported, McDonald's is now admitting to potential allergens in the fries.

They've added "Contains wheat and milk ingredients" this month to the french fries listing on its Web site.

Evidently, their potato suppliers remove all wheat and dairy proteins, such as gluten, which can cause allergic reactions, but the flavoring agent in the cooking oil is a derivative of wheat and dairy ingredients. So it all comes back to the oil... trans fat, wheat, dairy, gluten... it's all in there!

Calling their fries "gluten free" when they weren't will be upsetting to the many people with gluten allergies including the 2 million Americans with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten.

Update (2/19): Three lawsuits have already been filed against McDonald's following their disclosure: a vegan, a person with celiac disease and a person with a gluten allergy (...all walked into a bar... oh wait, this isn't a joke!) have sued McDonald's.

I'm not a big fan of lawsuits, but these come closer to having merit than the 'obesity lawsuits.' McDonald's should be 'punished' in some fashion for their lies. In a perfect world the market would punish them because people would stop eating at McDonald's because they didn't trust them, but that rationale doesn't seem to work anymore.

But I'm not sure a vegan should win the lottery (so to speak) in a lawsuit against McDonald's over this. Anyway, what self-respecting vegan eats anything from McDonald's anyway, I wouldn't think they'd be a fan of all those chemical additives.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More trans fat in McD fries

McDonald's has increased the amount of trans fat they're reporting for their french fries instead of decreasing it as they promised to do in 2002. They've admited that they've been under-reporting the amount of trans fat in their fries by a third.

McDonald's now reports 8 grams of trans fat in a large order of their fries as opposed to the 6 grams previously reported.

"It makes it harder to trust McDonald's if they suddenly have strikingly different (trans fat) numbers," Michael Jackson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

In 2002 McDonald's promised to reduce the amount of trans fat in their fries by half. In 2004 they were successfully sued for not fulfilling this promise and ordered to spend 1.5 million to promote their failure and donate $7 million to the American Heart Association.

Trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil in an effort to extend the shelf-life of products such as cooking oils. They are reported to increase levels of 'bad cholesterol' thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.

The six grams of trans fats previously reported by McDonald's was already slightly above the FDA's estimates for the average daily intake of trans fats in the average adult American's diet.

McDonald's french fries are among its products highest in trans fats. The only McDonald's products having more than eight grams of trans fats are its deluxe breakfast with 11 grams and the 10-piece chicken select strips, which has nine least according to what they're reporting.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Burgerville eliminates trans-fat

The Oregon & Washington burger chain, Burgerville, has annouced they have switched to trans-fat free cooking oil in all of their 39 locations. French fries, halibut, chicken strips and Walla Walla sweet onion rings, will now be prepared with a trans fat free canola oil.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

French fry vending machine

Ah, the magic of science! You can't get french fries much faster than from a vending machine on your favorite street corner! A Spanish company, Patatas Chef, has developed a vending machine of the same name, that will do just that. Here's their description:
"The fully automatic french-fries vending machine provides, in a record time, a delicious portion of hot crunchy and golden fries.

"The potatoes are fried on the spot, and a tray is provided to collect your portion. Also, the salt and ketchup, if wished, are dispensed automatically.

"It works like a clean and small sophisticated factory with the most absolute respect for the environment, and maintains the hygienic conditions required by edible products, and is equipped to maintain the quality of natural products that are being used."
[Patata Chef corp website]


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Controversy: French fries & acrylamide

A lawsuit filed Friday by California's Attorney General seeks to stop fast food (and other) restaurants from serving french fries without an explicit warning about Acrylamide. Acrylamide is a chemical that studies have found is created when starchy foods are cooked at high heat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is studying the impact of acrylamide levels in food. In a March press release, the FDA said "acrylamide can cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, although it is not clear whether it causes cancer in humans at the much lower levels found in food."

In other bad news for french fries, another study has shown that young children who eat French fries frequently have a much higher risk of breast cancer as adults.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

McDonald's settles vegetarian lawsuit

24 groups that filed a class-action suit against McDonald's will receive a total of $10 million. The groups include Hindu, Muslim and vegetarian organizations. The groups' suit claims McDonald's deliberately mislead the public by presenting their french fries as suitable for vegetarians when they were, in fact, prepared with a beef additive for flavoring. [Hindu News]

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Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Zero-Grams Trans Fat French Fry

The J.R. Simplot Company, the leading french fry innovator, introduces Infinity Fries - zero-grams trans fat french fries for foodservice.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Man Pleads Guilty in French Fries Rage

DuBOIS, Pa. (AP) -- A Burger King customer who berated the employees when a drive-thru clerk told him the restaurant was out of french fries has been convicted of multiple charges and sentenced to 45 days in jail.

Authorities said Gregg Luttman made an obscene gesture at the clerk, cursed staffers and nearly hit an employee with his truck. When police tried to arrest him, Luttman allegedly scuffled with an officer and kicked out the back window of a cruiser.