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‘They use some modified atmosphere storage’: Former McDonald’s corporate chef addresses pesticides-on-potatoes rumors

‘That’s not a McDonald’s thing, that’s a potato industry thing’


Grace Fowler


Posted on Sep 14, 2023   Updated on Sep 14, 2023, 1:04 pm CDT

A former McDonald’s corporate chef addresses the rumors that McDonald’s puts extra pesticides in its potatoes. 

Mike Haracz (@chefmikeharacz) has frequently gone viral on TikTok for sharing McDonald’s secrets that viewers want to know. His video on the potato rumors has gained over 7,800 views after going up Wednesday morning. Mike’s most popular video has over 16.5 million views. 

@chefmikeharacz Replying to @brianbushway Former #McDonalds corporate chef talks about their potatoes. #mcdonaldssecrets #McDonaldsSecret #mcdonaldslife #McDonaldsMenu #McDonaldsfries #McDonaldsFrenchFries #mcdonaldsfriesaresogood #mcdonaldsfriesmhmm #mcdonaldsfriesislife #fries #FrenchFries #frenchfries🍟 #FastFood #FastFoodSecrets #FYP ♬ original sound – Chef Mike Haracz

In the pesticide video, Mike responds to a comment on one of his previous videos asking him to address how “McDonald’s does something different to the potatoes after harvest.” 

Mike says the comment was sparked by a viral video he has seen pop up every few years. He says the man in the original video is saying things that are no longer true. “They’re talking about the pesticides that are used in production of potatoes,” he says. 

“First of all, the entire video is not McDonald’s related; it’s potato industry related,” he adds.

Mike emphasizes that McDonald’s “does not own the potato farms. They buy [potatoes] from suppliers.” 

He says that the pesticide in question “has not been approved to be used for years and years.”

Secondly, Mike says the man in the video criticized how the potatoes are stored. “Do you want potatoes year round?” he asks. “They need to be stored, and in order to do that, they use some modified atmosphere storage.”

He also says viewers likely buy many food items stored in modified atmosphere packaging, like precooked eggs and some meats. 

“If you add a different mixture of gas, not just regular air, it will extend shelf life naturally … without actually adding preservatives or things like that,” he says.

Next, Mike addresses how the man in the video says “McDonald’s demands a specific type of potato.” 

“McDonald’s didn’t say, ‘Hey world, you’re only gonna grow that,’” he jokes. He says that McDonald’s simply chose a particular potato variety and stuck with it for the sake of consistency.

“Do you want the most iconic gold standard French fry to be consistent, or do you want there to be 50 varieties of potatoes with different sizes?” he asks. 

Mike concludes that it’s up to consumers to decide if they have “issues” with certain foods, but that the video about pesticides in McDonald’s potatoes is outdated. 

He says the video is “First of all, wrong.”

“Secondly, a lot of things have changed since then,” he continues. “Third, that’s not a McDonald’s thing, that’s a potato industry thing.”

As a joke, he adds, “And fourth, people who use McDonald’s for the views are super annoying.” 

Several viewers in the comments section appreciated the humor, like one who wrote, “Bahahaha the little digs at yourself.”

Another viewer shared additional knowledge, writing, “Don’t forget about apples, they’re stored in modified atmosphere warehouses to make them fresh year round.”

The Daily Dot contacted Mike via TikTok direct message for comment. Mike told the Daily Dot he debunked the original video because it is just “outdated viral content that has been discussed over and over again.” 

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*First Published: Sep 14, 2023, 1:03 pm CDT