McDonald’s Perpetual Potato

An article that I read in the paper inspired this commentary.

This post is simply an opinion piece.

A few thoughts and ideas about foods that are fast/mass produced.

My sharing of the 1996 McDonalds hamburger a few years ago was also that – a sharing of a prop that prompted discussion in my classes.

The newspaper article made me realize what a business monopoly McDonald’s really is.

It’s mind boggling.

An institute was established in 2005 to handle newly discovered  varieties of potato species. It’s sole purpose while unwritten …is to have their potato considered by McDonald’s.  This is ALL they do.  From what I can tell the biggest selling feature of the perfect Mcdonald’s FF is the ability of a potato to store well.

The Perpetual Potato.

Do we want to be eating french fries that last forever?

I mean do these things even digest?

McDonald’s shifted it’s perpetual potato choice last in 1999. The new search is a big deal apparently.

Potatoes have fancy names like the Premier Russet, Shepody or the Buffskinned Penobscot of Maine. ( say that fast three times )

Along with their upper crust names they apparently have pedigree lists or a lineage that resembles a fine thoroughbred!!  To me, and I may be simple minded …isn’t a potato a potato?  I get and appreciate variety. I adore a red potato versus a russet.  I love the tender spring potato or the odd blue.  When it has paperwork on it that resembles who knows what, doesn’t it become a chemistry project?  Or in this instance, perhaps it’s an agricultural project/science experiment?

I know genetically modifying agriculture has been around in farming for some time.  When I think about it from a manufacturing perspective, like producing corn strictly for the purpose of producing high fructose corn syrup, it really grosses me out

I naively thought we farmed to produce food to eat.  Nature. Sustenance. Food.  Not to make chemicals.  By the time a perfect potato is created, one for example that has a smaller starch cell, is it food anymore?

I can’t claim to understand all of the mechanics of big business.  Big Business makes money.  In many instances big business, like fast food and pharmaceuticals, in my opinion, brings harm to our society.  The greed of selling more, more more with no regard for quality or consequences has its societal havoc.

Drugs in many cases cause irreversible side affects.  Irreversible.  We as consumers assume that risk by swallowing our birth control pills or our Viagra.  We take the drug interferon to prolong our life and then suffer tremendously from the drug later. Chemo therapy can actually kill you. We decide to do this?  While companies make money by our consumption?  I struggle with this.

Fast food contributes to obesity.  There is no denying this. Obesity and the illnesses related to it will someday bankrupt our health care system.  Think about this. How is it that big business in the end? What’s the point of making money if there’s noone around to enjoy it?

The article states that McDonald’s buys more than 3.4 million pounds of US potatoes annually.  Wow – that’s one heck of a lot of spuds.  What if the perfect potato could be organic instead??  In my mind McDonald’s and organic is a bit of an oxymoron. I remember when the kids meal added apples. I thought to myself. If the apples were organic it would completely alter the organic market.

The apples used by McDonald’s are not organic. As a matter of fact they are the #1 dirty dozen fruit to avoid according to EWG’s Shoppers Guide for pesticides in produce. 

Yup McDonald’s has the power to dictate which potatoes or which apples are the cream of the crop. The supply demand principle.

I just wonder what would happen if the fast food industry shifted it’s paradigm to slow food, local and farm raised ingredients  gosh even organics — would it have the same appeal?

I can’t even imagine it.  Can you?

Researchers and industry reps have discussed new more sustainable varieties or potato— these varieties would help “McDonald’s to advertise that they serve potatoes that are produced with less chemicals and water input”  says a Chuck Brown from the Department of Agriculture.  Does that not imply that the potato currently being used is chemical ridden??

One thing I secretly ponder is shutting the fast food industry down.   The unthinkable really.  Empty abandoned haunted McDonald’s restaurants around the world.

A remember when.

Remember drive through, dash and dine, mass high calorie closet consumption?

The thing is a mere mention of an Egg McMuffin, Big Mac or McDonald’s french fries and you still experience the entire taste sensation in your mouth. Brainwashing. That’s some serious branding.  We all are a victim of it.

Would you like to biggie size that?

article source – john miller ( assoc press – sept 24th, 2009 )

in the spirit of foods lasting forever I’d like to thank fellow green mom and Farmers Daughter blogger Abbie Watson for her image sharing and classroom science project:

To the perpetual spud!!

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