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Process of making tasty fries is more laboratory than garden patch

Fast food companies are facing increasing pressure these days to improve the quality of their food.  Whether its McDonald's Corp. (MCD) heating their coffee to super-hot temperatures to try to disguise their weak brew and subsequently getting sued for burning a customer -- or Taco Bell Corp. (YUM) getting hit with a suit of its own when its taco "meat" turned out to be a bit lacking in the meat department, people these days aren't putting up with shenanigans at the drive-thru.

Wendy's Arby's Group Inc. (WEN) has become the latest fast food giant to be exposed for flaws in its hasty fare.

The company last fall introduced a new product at Wendy's restaurants -- Natural Cut Fries With Sea Salt.  The product is now in the limelight thanks to a new string of commercials.  The new fries are noticeable as they leave part of the potato skin on.

Wendy's describes them, writing [press release]:

Wendy's new fries, launched nationally in November 2010, were developed specifically to meet consumers' demand for a better-tasting, higher-quality French fry. They're made from 100% Russet potatoes and sliced "natural-style" with the skin on for additional texture and taste, then cooked in proprietary oil that has 0 grams trans fat per serving. They are finished with a dusting of natural sea salt to further enhance the flavor.

And they're doing great.  In a national blind taste test by an independent firm hired by Wendy's, 56 percent of people preferred the new fries, while 39 percent preferred McDonald's fries (5% had no preference).  And at the 6,600 Wendy's joints worldwide, orders of fries have soared up 10 percent.

But a BNET blogger has poked a hole in Wendy's claims of the fries being "natural".  According to the report, the fries use a stew of exotic laboratory chemicals to improve the fries' appearance, flavor, and ease of cooking.

The fries do away with the steam skinning -- ironically, one of the most "natural" parts of the average fast food company's fry manufacturing process.  

Chopped, the fries begin their chemical journey with a dip in sodium acid pyrophosphate.  They're also powdered with slightly more natural D-glucose (crystallized from corn).  Together the two components prevent the fries from browning during their first fry at the factory and their second fry at the restaurant.

As BNET points out, this makes Wendy's fries less "natural" than some competitors.  For example Five Guys' fries are only fried once and are made from fresh potatoes -- thus they don't suffer from the same browning issues, eliminating the need for the chemical dip.

Five Guys and pretty much every other large chain burger joint use a special chemical called dimethylpolysiloxane that prevents the oil from foaming, even after countless batches of fries.  And guess what?  Wendy's "natural" fries use this non-naturally occurring chemical, as well.

Wendy's emphasizes that the fries are made from "100% Russet potatoes."  But according to John Keeling of the National Potato Council, "Virtually all processed French fries are Russets."

Even Wendy's Chief Market Officer, Ken Caldwell, so much as admits the "natural" fries aren't 100 percent natural.  He states in an interview with BNET, "People are saying they want high integrity ingredients, things their grandmother would have used, that don’t look like they came out of a chemistry lab. But they’re also saying I’ve got a family to feed and can only afford to spend about $4 on my lunch, and I’ve only got about a minute or two to eat it."

"We’re taking it product line by product line to make our food closer to this real ingredients story. Over time, you’ll see our ingredient labels getting shorter and more of those high integrity ingredients. It just takes time."

Health-wise the fries are a mixed bag.  They add a grab of dietary fiber -- which promotes good digestion.  But they also bump sodium content 43 percent.  That's a bit problematic -- excess sodium can cause heart problems, and Americans tend to get too much in their diet already.

Will Wendy's misleading labeling, though, lead to yet another class action lawsuit?  You never know, but Wendy's customers may be less likely to push the point.  After all, the fries may have been exposed for not being "as real as it gets" like Wendy's claims, but -- according to most -- they make up for it in taste.

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They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By tayb on 4/17/2011 12:08:07 AM , Rating: 5
They are marketing "natural cut." I guess leaving the skins on when you cut them and THEN putting the "russet potatoes" through the periodic table of elements is more "natural" than cutting them with the skins steamed off.

It reminds me of the AT&T commercial where they are cover 98% of America............................................ ........................ns.

You know, because you can cover 98% of Americans and still have gaping holes in your network the size of Wisconsin.

"Try our new Natrual (cut) fries! They are natural! At least they were before we doused them in chemicals. Doused them in chemicals again. Froze them. Doused them in chemically altered grease. Poured salt over them. Set them on a heating rack for an hour." Fresh hot Natural fries anyone????

By Reclaimer77 on 4/17/2011 12:45:16 AM , Rating: 4
lol what is wrong with people?

Yeah I'm shocked that something dunked in a deep fryer and doused in salt isn't health! /sarcasm

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By name99 on 4/17/11, Rating: -1
RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By nafhan on 4/18/2011 11:22:59 AM , Rating: 4
You're over analyzing. Fats and salt are not inherently unhealthy, in fact they are necessary for your body to function properly. However, the thing that's understood here (by everyone else, at least) is that the amounts of fat and salt you are going to get eating a 2000 calorie "meal" at any of the places mentioned in the article is terrible for you.

To put it more simply: eating a few fried potatoes is fine, but eating delicious heaping piles of fried potatoes on a regular basis will eventually give you a heart attack.

By tastyratz on 4/18/2011 3:49:42 PM , Rating: 3
well put and truth, but I want to take a step further to clarify something else. You were right in that excess of these things can be unhealthy.

Sodium by nature causes excess water retention which in turn raises blood pressure. for people with LOW blood pressure this is a very good thing... for others it is not. Diuretics can reduce the bloat and in turn blood pressure.

Fats are not all created equal, and not all fat is the same. The worst fats are hydrolyzed, and saturated is *gasp* good for some because its known to boost testosterone levels.

Generally fried foods are bad for you because high availability and low availability calories are mixed. The fast burning starches are good for immediate energy before exercise, but the fats slow digestion and slow you down. Instead of fast burning fast available energy boosting calories you have ones that are easily processed to fats. Sugars/starches and fats are about the worst combination you can throw at your body even if they taste great. Good for the soul... not for sex appeal.

By ElderTech on 4/19/2011 7:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
But that's the impression they want to give. As with all marketing, it's all about the impression the consumer has. It doesn't matter what the reality is. Having been in the fast food business for many years, I've found this a critical detail in the marketing strategy of major chains.

Then again, as with this change, they aren't doing it to improve quality for the consumer, although they give that impression. They are doing it to improve sales and just as importantly the profit margin. If you weigh out the average order of these fries comparied to the prior version, you'll find they weigh less. The volume is not as great due to the interior being less "meaty". And they are saving cost by using the skins as well.

And speaking of "meaty" their change in beef suppliers has a similar result to the profit margin. While I don't know the specific ingredients in them, and although they are supposed to be thicker when cooked, the outside dimensions are smaller and there is less overall volume from my comparison. Again, primarily cost savings.

All in all, Wendy's is shooting themselves in the foot with smaller sizes and less overall quality, from my considered perspective.

By Lerianis on 4/20/2011 4:48:52 AM , Rating: 2
Not quite. The fact is that I know many people who eat 'unhealthy' foods on a regular basis who are healthier than people who eat rabbit food and only makes things themselves.

Why? Because it's all about GENETICS for the most part. The fact is that the fats in these fries go through your body for the most part and are not absorbed, contrary to popular belief, because of other things that they are mixed with.

I'll be blunt: 60 pounds overweight and my LDL is very good, my cholesterol in general is sterling, and my blood pressure is LOWER than it really should be.

By Skywalker123 on 4/23/2011 12:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
you're like the man who falls off the Empire State Building, half way down he says to himself " So far, so good!"

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By Lifted on 4/18/2011 1:21:13 AM , Rating: 5
So the "chemical stew" is sugar and salt?


Another sensationalist mick article.

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By monomer on 4/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By JediJeb on 4/18/2011 2:18:55 PM , Rating: 3
Well sodium acid pyrophosphate is a salt by definition. The D-glucose is sugar, so dipping them in a salt and sugar stew would be somewhat accurate. Also everyone is saying how healthy Sea Salt is compared to Table Salt, but in reality it is still comprised of 86.6% Sodium Chloride which is table salt and the other remaining 16.4% is made up of Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Sulfate, Bicarbonate, Bromide and Strontium. Very little difference in the healthiness of one versus the other.

Also unless you are willing to pay more for your food because someone is being paid to stand there and cut up potatoes by hand right before they are cooked, you will have to deal with them having some type of preservation used. As the rep from Wendy's mentioned in the article, everyone wants fresh from the garden foods, but they don't want to pay the price those would cost.

Another "chemical" used a lot in foods is Monosodium glutamate, (MSG) which is used as a preservative and a flavor enhancer, especially in commercial Chinese foods and snacks. Some people like me are allergic to it so it makes it difficult to find good foods that do not have it as a major ingredient. I also would be willing to bet if they took it out of all the things it is in now, the majority of people would complain that those foods just no longer taste good because they have gotten used to the extra flavor it adds.

The healthiness of food is a tradeoff. You have to be willing to decide how much you will pay for what level of "naturalness" you desire in what you eat.

By ekv on 4/18/2011 7:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
Some people like me are allergic to it...
Ditto. Well stated.

[National Organization Mobilized to Stop Glutamate (NoMSG) use to have a web-site/newsletter but I can no longer find it].

MSG is big business. Check the food label for anything "hydrolized" or "natural flavors", and MSG usually gets hidden there.

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By Flunk on 4/17/2011 12:53:38 AM , Rating: 5
I'm just waiting for the next wave of complaints about fast food making people fat. Fast food doesn't make you fat, your choices to eat too much and too often make you fat.

By Skywalker123 on 4/17/2011 4:17:49 AM , Rating: 3
Eating a lot of empty calories doesn't help.

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By Kurz on 4/17/2011 2:30:50 PM , Rating: 4
By Zaranthos on 4/18/2011 5:01:40 PM , Rating: 2
Stay tuned for the long term study report. Man dies of diabetic comma, Twinkie diet blamed. :P

By ekv on 4/18/2011 9:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
What did mike Twain say? "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" 8)

[P.S. you are only distressed by diabetic comma if a grammar-nazi is your editor, which is my way of saying "coma not comma ." ;]

By Dr of crap on 4/18/2011 10:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
Why to say it.
If only the STUPID FAT Amercians would get that.

By Dr of crap on 4/18/2011 10:44:56 AM , Rating: 1
That should say -
WAY to say it!

By ekv on 4/18/2011 7:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
Wait. I don't get it. Are you insinuating that 'if only more fat people would eat fast food we'd have fewer stupid people'?

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By stm1185 on 4/17/2011 2:21:50 AM , Rating: 5
I thought they were advertising that they were cutting them in a natural way, and by that they meant they were leaving the skins on.

The sheep people see natural and no matter what else is in the name they assume that it is cooked with no chemicals, which obviously Wendy's played on, but in the end anyone with actual brains and a desire to eat healthier would not have been under that assumption.

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By mnmus on 4/17/2011 8:53:47 AM , Rating: 4
"they assume that it is cooked with no chemicals"

Silly people. The oil ANY fry is cooked in is a chemical. Heck, the fries themselves are organic (carbon-hydrogen-other) chemical compositions. "Natural" food is alive and unchanged from its wild, on-the-hoof or whatever condition. Want a "natural" potato? Find a "heritage" (unchanged from its state as found in nature before cultivation by man) potato and eat it raw; that's the only way you'll find a "natural" potato. Even then, you'll be eating organic chemicals. And once you cook it in any way, it's no longer "natural" at all.

Silly people.

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By AssBall on 4/17/2011 11:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
A healthy bit of sodium pyrophosphate never hurt me. If it is edible and affordable, I could give a rat's ass what's in it, honestly.

By Solandri on 4/17/2011 2:25:35 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe they'd be happier if was fried in lard (pig fat)? That's natural, right?

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By myhipsi on 4/18/2011 11:44:42 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I'd be much happier actually. Fries tasted so much better when they used to cook them in lard (Whether it's beef or pig). Lard is actually a great fat to cook in, it crisps like nothing else, it is much more stable at high temperatures than most other fats and oils, it consists of almost 45% monounsaturated fat, and it's "natural" in the most real sense of the word (animal fat). We've been cooking and eating animal fats for tens of thousands of years, whereas cooking with plant oils has only been around for a couple of decades.

People have a lot of misconceptions about fat because in the early 90's science mistakenly concluded that dietary saturated fat and cholesterol where what gave people heart attacks and made people fat. Of course after almost two decades of eating boats loads of bread, crackers, cookies, cakes, "diet" bars, and a million other high carb low fat crap, you guessed it, people got even fatter and had more heart attacks (not to mention more diabetes).

I say bring back the good old animal fat, just don't eat fries seven days a week, that's all.

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By JediJeb on 4/18/2011 2:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
My Biochemistry teacher in college gave a good talk on this very subject. Animal fats like lard do contain cholesterol and saturated fats which can lead to high triglycerides which are not good for the circulatory system, but the polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oil(yes they are made of fats also) have double bonded carbons in their chemical makeup( hence the name unsaturated) which are known to be carcinogenic. So his conclusion was you needed to decide whether you wanted to die of heart disease or cancer.

As for cutting out fats as a way to lose weight, consider this, if you take the label for most pig feeds, you will notice it contains very little fat and very high levels of carbohydrates. This is what is fed to pigs to fatten them up before sending them to market. Maybe that is why the Atkins diet works well as it knocks out carbs and has you increase protein and fat intake, though a balance of both worlds would be more healthy all around. If people only ever listen to the hype on TV and magazines they will never know the truth about anything, they will just hear what someone wants to sell.

By Skywalker123 on 4/23/2011 12:36:06 AM , Rating: 2
Did your Biochem teacher ever consider Option 3, don't use any cooking oil? As far a carbs causing weight gain, the people with the highest percentage of centenarians, the Okinawans ate about 80 percent carbs and showed no weight problems.

By piroroadkill on 4/19/2011 4:49:19 AM , Rating: 1
Are you fucking kidding me? Cooking with plant oils has only been around for decades? Olive Oil has been harvested for thousands of years, traceable back to the Romans and further yet beyond.

Seriously, at least get your facts right.

By KITH on 5/10/2011 12:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
I believe he misspoke. The first reply to him states it better with 'vegetable oil'. Olives are fruit. Coconut and palm oils are also OK choices. Nobody used corn oil to cook with more than 40-50 years ago. It is a new laboratory invention. You don't squeeze an ear of corn and get oil like you would with an olive.

By BSMonitor on 4/17/2011 11:22:40 AM , Rating: 3
There is nothing "natural" about fast food to begin with.

By Camikazi on 4/18/2011 10:33:19 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, it's about time people started spending more $ to eat healthy.

There is your answer, when it comes down to healthy or cheap and fast most will pick cheap, since the effects of losing money is felt NOW.

By JediJeb on 4/18/2011 2:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
If you have 30 minutes to eat lunch and it takes you 15 minutes to get somewhere to buy that lunch, you need it to be fast. Try talking employers into giving you 60-120 minutes so you can run home, and cook a good lunch, or installing a kitchen so you can cook it there on your break, most will laugh at you.

Also if people start spending more to eat healthy, then they will have less to spend on gas to get to work, cloths, rent, utilities and every other thing that costs money. Also the more fresh the food the more it will cost, unless you are growing it yourself, because more will go to waste and not be sold due to it perishing before consumption. Back when a man went out to work each day and his wife stayed home and cooked meals from fresh foods it was possible to avoid the fast food places, but that is something that is very rare in society today and families and single people alike have so much less time spend on cooking overall.

By Azethoth on 4/18/2011 6:25:26 AM , Rating: 3
Wrong. Fast food is naturally delicious since it contains: some denatured natural ingredient; pleasing fats, sugars and or salts; chemicals.

By RedemptionAD on 4/17/2011 11:55:52 AM , Rating: 2
In case you didn't know all the fast food joints changed there recipe recently because of people blaming fast food for making them fat. The general public doesn't want to hold themselves accountable for what they eat and the obesity and health problems caused by their inactivity. The lawsuit that started it was about OREO cookies that had transfat in them and were making kids fat. Parents choose what their kids eat, the food doesn't put a gun to their head and say eat me. If this is the way things are going to be we might as well sue alcohol companies for drunk driving because alcohol itself, not overconsumption of it, causes drunk driving.
The lawsuit mentioned in this link is what caused the change.

RE: They aren't advertising "natural" french fries.
By protosv on 4/17/2011 1:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
If this is the way things are going to be we might as well sue alcohol companies for drunk driving because alcohol itself, not overconsumption of it, causes drunk driving.

Exactly. This is why these days MADD is little more than a thinly veiled front for neo-prohibitionism.

By baba264 on 4/18/2011 8:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
You mean in the same way we punish drug dealers when people do drugs?

By vapore0n on 4/18/2011 9:59:45 AM , Rating: 2
The companies are also to blame for all of this.
Go turn off the tv and see how many commercials of junk food shows up in the 5 minute commercials span. And then count how many times indirect advertisement shows up in the tv show itself.

We are getting brainwashed. Then we head over to the grocery store and start getting a craving for that sweet Oreo. See, now I'm salivating.

Alcohol already has its own laws that tell you when, where, and how much you can have. Cigarettes would be a better example, and they do get sued. But these two wont go away. The public wants them, and the government want the tax money.

By myhipsi on 4/18/2011 12:37:59 PM , Rating: 3
We are getting brainwashed

That's a cop out. You can make your own decisions on what, when and where you want to eat, drink, smoke, etc. No companies are forcing you to do anything.

By retrospooty on 4/18/2011 8:00:25 AM , Rating: 2
"At least they were before we doused them in chemicals. Doused them in chemicals again. Froze them. Doused them in chemically altered grease. Poured salt over them. Set them on a heating rack for an hour." Fresh hot Natural fries anyone???? "

Hey now, salt is natural... Then again so is strychnine and anthrax

By retrospooty on 4/18/2011 8:00:31 AM , Rating: 1
"At least they were before we doused them in chemicals. Doused them in chemicals again. Froze them. Doused them in chemically altered grease. Poured salt over them. Set them on a heating rack for an hour." Fresh hot Natural fries anyone???? "

Hey now, salt is natural... Then again so is strychnine and anthrax

Since when is Five guys a big commercial enity?
By imaheadcase on 4/17/2011 10:39:28 AM , Rating: 4
I've been all over the US and never heard of them.

Thats like comparing fries from a burger van and McDonalds/wendy's.

Of course small time joints foods are going to make better everything, because they don't have to worry about mass producing on a large scale.

I'm impossible for a large food chain to go all organic. Simply math shows not enough food to go around. Organic = more throw-a-ways because they go bad faster.

By nwrigley on 4/17/2011 12:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
They are a smaller chain, but you should try to seek one out. Best $5 burger you're likely to find. All of the toppings aside from bacon and cheese are free - that means mushrooms, grilled onions, jalapenos, etc.

Also, a "regular" order of fries are easily enough for 2, if not 3 people (at least at the one I go to).

By smitty3268 on 4/17/2011 4:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
Their fries are way to greasy for my tastes, but the burgers are pretty great.

By Manch on 4/18/2011 12:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
5$?!?!! they opened one here in Hampton VA. 12$ for a combo. Way too much. The burgers are great but not 12$ great

By chick0n on 4/17/2011 11:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know about anywhere else but in New York City they're pretty much everywhere.

I just had their fries today at one of their newly opened location (opened couple weeks ago actually), they were giving out Free roasted peanuts and you can get as much as you want.

oh yes the fries? yum, good stuff. I can taste the real potatoes.

By noirsoft on 4/18/2011 12:23:45 AM , Rating: 2
I believe that Five Guys is headquartered out of the Washington, DC area. I've seen their restaurants in North Carolina and in southern California, so that is "national" enough for me. That makes them more a national chain in my eyes than, say, In N Out, which restricts its store locations (supposedly for quality control reasons, which I can undeerstand and agree with)

I think there was also a video out of Obama and Biden going to a Five Guys and ordering burgers early on in the presidency.

By Snow01 on 4/18/2011 7:06:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. We've had a Five Guys in Birmingham for awhile now. I recently discovered they have an android (and I assume iOS, I haven't checked) app so you can place your to go order ahead of time and pay for it, so you can just walk in and grab your food. Very convenient.

By cjohnson2136 on 4/18/2011 10:35:42 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I am from Maryland and they have a bunch of stores here. You can get a small fry and they just stuff that brown bag full of fries. Enough so myself and 4 other friends could eat. They are kinda greasy but thats cause they come right out of the fryer into your bag almost.

By myhipsi on 4/18/2011 12:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I've been to Five Guys in Florida, burgers are great.

By nafhan on 4/18/2011 11:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
I think they've got almost 1000 locations at this point.

The big things Five Guys does is freshness. Potatoes get diced in the store, and I think the meat doesn't get frozen.

Missing the point
By shin0bi272 on 4/17/2011 1:25:55 AM , Rating: 5
We are missing the big picture here people. the article says that nearly all fast food chains do this and you know why? cause single fried fries suck. They are mushy and limp. Ive made fries in my home deep fryer and while they werent anywhere near as good as mcdonalds or wendy's fries they were 100% natural. Natually cut, naturally put through a french fry maker, naturally soaked in water and vinegar overnight, naturally fried in canola oil at 325 for 5 minutes, naturally let cool for 8 more hours, then naturally fried again at 375 for 2 or 3 minutes and naturally doused with salt. They were ok but for the time it took me to go through all that Id rather just go to walmart and buy a bag of frozen processed fries for 1.75!

The point is if the chemicals arent hurting you dont whine about it.

RE: Missing the point
By sprockkets on 4/17/2011 11:27:10 AM , Rating: 1
Heh, you don't have to soak them that long nor wait that long. No wonder they are so soggy.

Watch this and learn.

RE: Missing the point
By zzeoss on 4/18/2011 10:47:04 AM , Rating: 2
This video contains content from Scripps, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.

This is getting annoying.

RE: Missing the point
By MindParadox on 4/18/2011 12:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
cut yer fries, soak em in the vinegar if ya want to (i never do) for about 10 minutes, take em out and fry em

personally, i like slightly crispier fries, so i cut mine and place em in a tea towel so it soaks up some of the moisture then fry em :)

oh, fryin em in olive oil works too, and tastes great

RE: Missing the point
By JediJeb on 4/18/2011 2:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
I've never soaked them, I kinda like if they are a little crispy on the outside and like a baked potato on the inside.

Easy answer
By slyck on 4/17/2011 8:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
Filth should be eaten in moderation. No fast food company cares about your health, so don't delude yourself. Of course they are trying to trick you, because it makes them more money. If you want healthy think organic, preferably homegrown, and preferably home cooked. It's the only way you can be sure. Hell even organic isn't organic anymore as the traitors in government changed the definition of the word to please the industrial use-whatever-chemicals-we-can-get-away-with-on-our- overcrowded-lots megafarms.

RE: Easy answer
By myhipsi on 4/18/2011 1:08:08 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to be under the false impression that fast food companies market themselves as healthy. They don't. They market themselves as tasty, quick, and easy, which is what they are. Nobody is being tricked, and anybody that claims they are, are looking for a way to make a buck via a lawsuit.

"Organic" isn't necessarily healthy either. Carrots grown in human sh*t are organic, but would you want to eat them? Point being, organic nutrients (excrement, etc.) contain many other things that may or may not be healthy for you.

RE: Easy answer
By JediJeb on 4/18/2011 3:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
Homegrown and homecooked are the key words there. But going totally organic means you are going to be out in that garden every day pulling weeds and picking insects off the food as it grows if you don't want to use some kind of chemical on it. Also you will be getting lower yields as the bugs damage the leaves and the plants grow more slowly, and risk things like ecoli and salmonella when you spread the manure around for fertilizer. Also unless you live in the tropics you will have to do some kind of canning or freezing to preserve those vegetables and meats so you can still eat them during the winter. Oh and growing enough wheat to make your breads you will need several acres of land just for your food to last you a whole year. Going all natural can be done, but it takes a LOT of hard work year round.

RE: Easy answer
By slyck on 4/19/2011 6:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
True, going full DIY organic in this day and age is close to impossible.

I tell you what though. I use no chemicals and have zero insect problems. I'm lucky enough to have my garden next to a small grassland and I believe that makes all the difference. A natural ecosystem keeps pests in check. Not something available to most gardens. The weeds, well they are a battle but there are good approaches to that too. Not gonna try growing my own wheat, not that macho.

RE: Easy answer
By Skywalker123 on 4/23/2011 12:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
No reason to pull weeds. simply put a black plastic over the garden.

Pollo tropical chicken FTW!
By Hafgrim on 4/17/2011 12:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
Pollo Tropical rocks i was so sad when I didnt find any on the on the west coast yet when I went to Cali. Wendys thinks its some kind of gourmet restaurant these days and is to stuck on itself & charges way to much for some stuff. I never visited another Wendys after they started raising prices a couple years ago. Lame!

RE: Pollo tropical chicken FTW!
By Flunk on 4/17/2011 12:51:55 AM , Rating: 4
You can't compare a small regional franchise to one that operates thousands of locations around the world. Economies of scale make big differences to what is an is not possible for a fast-food chain.

By Skywalker123 on 4/23/2011 12:44:22 AM , Rating: 2
Might be relevant to builders cars or computers, but not frying freaking french fries!

Wendy's new fries are horrible
By GatoRat on 4/17/11, Rating: 0
RE: Wendy's new fries are horrible
By GatoRat on 4/17/2011 1:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
For thin fries (versus steak fries) the best are a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop I eat at periodically. I'm sure they buy them in bulk, but they cook them perfectly every time.

RE: Wendy's new fries are horrible
By mnmus on 4/17/2011 8:47:46 AM , Rating: 1
Oh, horse shit's definitely better. It even makes better smokin'.

RE: Wendy's new fries are horrible
By GTVic on 4/17/2011 5:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
The first time I had them they were good, but the last few times they were way over salted and limp.

By Dr of crap on 4/18/2011 10:52:58 AM , Rating: 2
You sir have been eating to many McDonalds fries. Thier fries are NOT the best, they just have so many places that they have the preception of having the best fries.

These Wendies fries are the best.

The only ones better, where the Arby Homestyle fries. But they took them off the market. Why? Supposedly they did a market study and people PREFERRED the crappy curly fries OVER the homestyle fries. That's right, people wanted more fat a calories in their fries over the better tasting ones.

Go figure.

Word play
By CZroe on 4/17/2011 10:23:32 PM , Rating: 5
The article wants to critique the fries based on the word "natural" being in the name even though it so obviously only referred to the way it was cut while the article itself does much worse with wordplay. By saying that it's covered in "D-glucose" instead of sugar, it's as bad as saying that McDonald's apple slices are covered in an acidic preservative instead of vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

News flash: salt is also a "preservative" and it does not "cause" most of the health problems attributed to it. It causes hypertension (high blood pressure) which is linked to heart disease but we all know that the high BP of a potential heart attack victim is also unrelatedly higher because of the constrained plaque-filled arteries, which are the actual cause. The salt makes it worse, but it doesn't cause the plaque and the already existing HBP. It's a double correlation.

RE: Word play
By yourwhiteshadow on 4/17/2011 11:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
You are pretty much right on the spot. D-glucose is actually a naturally found product, but since its not 2131% of Vitamin C added to your apple juice it must be bad. Even pyrophosphate is formed naturally in our bodies all the time from the breakdown of ATP. People with no scientific background should not be covering stories like this. I'm sure there is some extra crap that isn't natural, but from what I've read in the article its like saying adding salt to fries is unnatural. In that case, Five Guys is just as "natural" or rather, according to this article, "unnatural" as Wendy's. People just want to complain and perhaps be a part of frugal lawsuits. I hope someone tries to sue and gets counter-sued and pwnd.

No more fries for me!
By ThisSpaceForRent on 4/17/2011 9:06:31 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sticking to my E. coli infected, Staph infected, antibiotic laden, growth hormone filled all natural ground beef! Besides if you add just a touch of Prions it really brings out the flavor!

*Disclaimer; Not a vegetarian, someone has to keep the planet safe from domestic animals.

RE: No more fries for me!
By JediJeb on 4/18/2011 5:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
You are also helping stop global warming, fewer cows, fewer cow farts ;)

Not just Wendy's
By jfelano on 4/17/2011 12:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
All the fast food restarants use these chemicals, not just Wendy's.

RE: Not just Wendy's
By yourwhiteshadow on 4/18/2011 2:26:30 AM , Rating: 2
That's because ALL THE POTATOES ARE GROWN WITH CHEMICALS. hahahahha. ok no, but seriously, do any of the fast food chains like in-n-out/five guys/etc use 'organic' potatoes. this is a bad article. jason mick usually writes some decent stuff, like the fukushima article was decent, but this article is plain stupid. OH NO THEY ADDED d-glucose and pyrophosphate?

Where's the beef?
By Dorkyman on 4/17/2011 12:04:54 PM , Rating: 4
Jason, what's your point? Read what you've written.

The company says the fries are "natural-cut" and that they use "natural sea salt." Nothing about not using any chemical processing.

Anyway, the best fries are In-n-Out. Oh, and totally "natural" in that they cut up the potatoes right there in front of you about a minute before they fry them. Can't get any more natural than that.

McDonalds & Red Robbins
By Azethoth on 4/18/2011 6:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
Best fries (outside a high end restaurant) are from Red Robbins and McDonalds. I will try these delicious sounding natural fries though.

The best fried potato product I ever had though my mom made when I was young: cooked potato, peeled, then cut in 2 and deep fried to a nice dark / golden brown crispy exterior. Served with leg of lamb or some kind of roast. Oh man.

RE: McDonalds & Red Robbins
By Schrag4 on 4/18/2011 1:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
McDonalds fries are actually pretty good for about 5 min after they come out of the frier (while they're still hot and crispy). Then they turn into nasty mushy crap. Your best bet is to go when they're really busy. Like any fast food joint, show up for lunch late and you get fries made 30 minutes ago.

By Outris on 4/18/2011 10:02:20 AM , Rating: 4
That stuff is nasty. :-)

Jackpot justice
By Beenthere on 4/18/2011 12:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
There is no shananigans other than people looking to cash in from being ignorant and using jackpot justice. For the record McD's coffee is not "super heated". Look up the definition of "super heated". McD's coffee is heated to the proper temp per the Culinary Institute of America. Anyone stupid enough to pour hot coffee on their crotch should be put out of their misery with a bullet because they are too stupid to exist in society without endangering themselves or other people.

As far as Taco Bell's ingredients are concern, they also did not make any false claims but that doesn't stop the siren chasers from trying to cash in.

Many in the media are technically ignorant and supportive of false consumer claims and jackpot justice. Consumers would be better served if the media reported defective products like Asus mobos and similar instead of rubber stamping these defective products to create windfall profits for unscrupulous purveyors of defective goods.

RE: Jackpot justice
By Dr of crap on 4/18/2011 12:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for that.

And I agree the media is the cause of a lot of misleading the public!

I wonder who bought this story...
By rbuszka on 4/18/2011 8:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
The above story is shoddy, shoddy journalism because it's purposely written to be inflammatory, or else it's ripped from some source that wrote their article to be inflammatory. The focus is on what Wendy's is doing to their fries, and not on what the rest of the fast food restaurants are doing to theirs, even though it's very subtly dropped in the article that what Wendy's is doing to their fries is almost exactly the same as what McDonald's, Hardees/Carl's Jr., and Burger King are doing to their fries.

It's true that Wendy's marketing is making a subliminal claim to being natural (but really not), and it makes sense to evaluate not only their explicit claims or even their implicit claims, but the psychological claim to being 'natural' - the term "natural-cut", which your mind divides up into "natural" and "cut", and then thinks "Hey, it's natural!" without evaluating the true meaning of the term more critically. But this stuff happens all the time. The article above is written to make it seem like what Wendy's is doing is worse than what any other fast-food chain is doing, when it is really about the same, and the step of skinning the potato is removed.

Also, the low-sodium meme is present in the above article. Some salt is NECESSARY to body processes, and if one drastically reduces the level of salt in their diet, they may not be getting enough to replenish electrolytes in their bodies, and the result of that is low energy. Just look at how many other places you've seen the low-salt meme, and ask yourself "why are we only seeing this now, when we've had dietary science for decades, and we've had salt on our food for centuries?" Somebody is out to try to reduce our salt intake artificially. If you really like salt, and you like salt with your salt, then you might think about cutting back, but the ordinary french-fry-eating person is not getting more salt than they need unless they eat those fries with EVERY meal. This is ridiculous.

By Skywalker123 on 4/23/2011 12:49:06 AM , Rating: 2
Your post is ridiculous! Are you a shill for the salt industry? We have never had this much salt in our diets.You don't have to eat fries for every meal, almost anything you consume that is processed will be full of salt. If you eat the SAD (Standard American Diet) it is impossible to get too little salt.

People are STUPID
By Performance Fanboi on 4/17/2011 1:19:56 AM , Rating: 2
As long as people are stupid enough to fall for marketing buzzwords we'll see this kind of stuff. If you really think natural style means natural then you are stupid, if you think natural means much more then you are doubly so - we all know that hemlock and plutonium are natural right?

As long as stupid people try to lie to themselves about their food choices we will see advertising like this, Jello labels itself Fat-Free now (it always was fat-free but has a ton of sugar) jumping on board that bandwagon. Lipton/Knorr has 25% reduced sodium soup now - the package contains 25% less soup than the regular one.

If you want to eat healthy you don't eat a lot of convenience foods or go to the drive through.

RE: People are STUPID
By cmdrdredd on 4/17/2011 9:12:06 PM , Rating: 1
Plus you'll always have lawsuits which is the whole problem. People will sue over anything and probably will win thanks to the liberal judges all over the place who hate anything that equals profit for a company.

McDonalds' coffee wasn't too hot
By Solandri on 4/17/2011 12:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
Whether its McDonald's Corp. (MCD) heating their coffee to super-hot temperatures to try to disguise their weak brew and subsequently getting sued for burning a customer

That was just a snow job the plaintiff's lawyers pulled on the court and everyone else. They went and surveyed the temperature of a bunch of restaurant coffee machines in the area. Then they reported that "other establishments" had their coffee machines set at 135 F, compared to 185-195 F at McDonalds. What they didn't tell you was that "other establishments" meant the lowest temperature they found in their survey. A couple of the restaurants nearby used the same temperature as McDonalds, and Starbucks uses a higher temperature.

The National Coffee Association of the U.S. and Bunn (the largest maker of commercial coffee brewing machines in the U.S.) recommend coffee be brewed at ~200F and stored at 180-185 F. This is compatible with McDonalds' machines being set at 185-195 F. And perhaps more telling, that is the temperature they still use today despite the lawsuit.

By Dr of crap on 4/18/2011 8:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
But boy are they GOOOOOOD!

Mmm mmm, good.
By rburnham on 4/18/2011 6:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
I love Wendy's fries.

Maybe it's just me...
By EricMartello on 4/16/11, Rating: -1
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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