They’re salty, delicious and sometimes the perfect treat when you want a bit of an indulgence. French fries are also handy for vegans: you can find them at most restaurants, even those steakhouses where you sometimes have to attend special occasions with the meat-eaters in your life and fear you won’t have something to eat.
But… are they really vegan?
Although you’d think that French fries are safe for vegans because they’re just potatoes, shockingly that is not always the case. McDonalds French fries are an example. In the past they have caused controversy because they’re not always vegan. In 2002, a Hindu community that’s vegetarian sued the restaurant chain for not informing customers that sometimes beef flavour was being added to the chips to give them more flavour.
Another, more general, problem with French fries is that they might be fried in oils that have previously been used to fry other things - and these foods could include meat products. There’s also the possibility of cross-contamination with French fries and non-vegan foods, especially if you take into account how busy restaurant kitchens can be.
This is why it’s always a must to ask the waiter or chef how the French fries are prepared as well as to mention that you’re strictly vegan. This will ensure that you’re not putting yourself at risk of eating food that goes against your beliefs.
What about frozen French fries you could buy at the store and make yourself? That’s an option, but always read the labels! Whether the fries are regular or sweet potato varieties, you want to be sure that they don’t contain animal products. There are also preservatives you might spot such as anti-caking agents that could contain animal ingredients, so scrutinize what you see. And, if you spot some weird codes on the ingredients list, you might not know what they stand for, but help is at hand. Check out this comprehensive list of additives that are not safe for vegan consumption.
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons