Frequently asked questions about our products and our company

McCain is primarily a frozen foods company, but we offer non-frozen products as well. The company makes dehydrated potato products such as potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes) and potato granules in several facilities around the world.
McCain's potato processing plants around the world have a total production capacity of more than one millions pounds of potato products an hour. McCain makes one third of all the frozen French fries produced in the world.
Making frozen McCain French fries today involves many steps in a modern manufacturing process designed to give the consumer the taste, texture and convenience they have learned to expect from the company. Learn about our process.
No one really is sure about the origin of French fries. They became popular in France by the late 1800s, and there are also claims that they really originated in Belgium. American soldiers were introduced to them by French-speaking Belgians when they fought in Europe during World War I - and called them "French fries." It is even said that former U.S president Thomas Jefferson served "potatoes fried in the French manner" in the White house in the early 1800s. The British, of course, call French fries "chips", and England is the land of "fish and chips."
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Although we do have corporate farm operations to ensure a ready supply of quality potatoes, these provide only a small percentage of our needs. Most potatoes are grown by independent growers who contract with McCain for a supply of potatoes before planting the year's crop. McCain agronomists work closely with farmers to help them constantly improve the quality and yield of their crops.
McCain product information may be found on individual McCain country sites as products vary from country to country. Visit our regional sites for information about products sold in your region.
Since 1999 McCain has abided by a policy of not using genetically modified potatoes in any of our products globally. This policy holds true today, but we also recognize that science holds the potential to address many of the issues that continue to challenge the world with respect to the sustainable production of affordable and nutritious food to meet the demands of a growing population. It is the positive potential of science that drives our continued interest in plant biotechnology, and as such, we actively monitor and may participate in research and development projects that seek to offer significant social benefits. Regulatory compliance and consumer acceptance for the use of any new technology will guide our actions.
Since 1999 McCain has abided by a policy of not using genetically modified potatoes in any of our products globally. We always strive to source non-GM ingredients wherever possible, though in some instances, for non-potato ingredients such as cooking oil, a lack of GM and non-GM segregation at the crop level means this cannot be guaranteed.

All ingredients used by McCain are safe and adhere to the relevant government requirements. We comply with regulations that mandate the labeling of genetically modified foods in regions of the world where such requirements exist.
McCain Foods uses a relatively small amount of palm oil for our needs.  For our frying oil, we purchase only sustainable palm oil from suppliers who are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

As a result of the increasing levels of obesity and associated health risks, health consciousness has been on the rise among consumers. Today's consumers want healthy alternatives without compromising quality and taste. McCain is responding to our consumers and customers with an expanded range of Better For You product choices that are lower in fat, sugar and sodium. Visit our regional websites for information about products sold in your region

In 2003, we displayed leadership in North America by introducing French fries prepared in non-hydrogenated oils in order to lower the levels of trans fatty acids. Similar initiatives are underway at other company operations around the world. At the same time McCain is working closely with its customers to develop new product options for quick service restaurants.

Moderation in how much one eats and drinks, getting regular exercise and enough sleep, as well as reducing stress are all elements of managing one's health. We believe that all McCain products can be part of a nutritionally balanced diet and a healthy, active lifestyle.

Ultimately, it is the consumer who chooses what food he eats, how often and how much. As a responsible manufacturer of food products, McCain believes it should provide both a wide variety of product choices and the information consumers need to make their purchase decisions.

McCain is committed to providing its customers and consumers with food they can trust to be safe, nutritious and great tasting. As a result, we have been working to address the issue of acrylamide since it was first discovered in food in 2002. We have a worldwide technical team managing the issue and we have been working proactively with international regulators and researchers on an ongoing basis.

McCain Foods is committed to continuing efforts to reduce the formation of acrylamide in our products by monitoring the latest research and assessing applicability.

We have made progress in reducing the formation of acrylamide by selecting the best potatoes, controlling storage and processing conditions, and by providing clear instructions on all retail and foodservice packaging for optimal cooking times and temperatures.

McCain has engaged industry and regulators in a number of countries and has contributed to the internationally recognized reduction recommendations outlined in the European Union’s Food Drink Europe “Acrylamide Toolbox” and the Codex Code of Practice.

McCain encourages its customers to follow cooking recommendations published either by EUPPA (European Potato Processors Association1) or FDA (US Food and Drugs Administration2), recommendations published on the following websites:!documentDetail;D=FDA-2013-D-0715-0001

​Sodium acid pyrophosphate (also known as disodium diphosphate) is a component of baking powder and is widely used in the food industry in a variety of applications.
We use it in McCain French fries to retain the natural color of the potatoes. Without it, potatoes would turn dark, just like an apple turns dark when you cut it and expose it to air.

​Levels of sugars naturally present in potatoes vary throughout the year and from variety-to-variety which, in turn, impacts the consistency of color in the final cooking process. Dextrose is therefore used during the blanching process to maintain color consistency and to replace any natural sugars lost during cooking.

The vast majority of our frozen cold store estate is free from HFC refrigerants. The small percentage that isn't yet HFC free will be moving to natural gas refrigerant at the time of upgrade or replacement going forward.

​McCain is famous for its french fries and specialty potato products. We purchase a very small amount of ingredients containing eggs and are committed to these being cage free sourced globally by 2025.

At McCain we support the WHO guidance to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (IP-TFA’S) from the global food supply. A major source of IP-TFA’s come from vegetable oils which have been partially hydrogenated to enhance stability and shelf life. Over the past decade McCain has eliminated the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from the cooking procedures of our potato product portfolio globally.

McCain is famous for french fries and specialty potato products. For a minority of our other products we purchase a small amount of ingredients from animal origin.

McCain Foods requires that its suppliers operate to high standards of animal welfare, providing animals with an environment free from stress, abuse and neglect.  One example of this is in our North American supply chain in relation to the welfare of broiler chickens [more information].

In conducting its operations, McCain Foods Limited takes the welfare of its employees very seriously and does not tolerate or condone any activity or practice constituting slavery, forced labor or human trafficking.  McCain has employee policies and procedures in place, including McCain's Code of Conduct and policies and procedures with respect to the hiring of employees, to ensure that slavery, forced labor or human trafficking is not occurring in McCain's hiring process or employment relationships. 

With respect to suppliers of goods and services to McCain, McCain has adopted a Supplier Code of Conduct which addresses respect for human rights, prohibitions relating to compulsory labor, human trafficking, child labor, inhumane treatment, abuse, harassment and non-discrimination, and other requirements.  McCain requires that all of its suppliers adhere to and comply with McCain's Supplier Code of Conduct.

McCain supports the Consumer Goods Forum call to action for business leaders to join forces to call for the end to forced labour and unethical recruitment in the fight against forced labour, in collaboration with governments, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations: CGF Call To Action

McCain Foods does not fund, conduct, or commission any tests on animals unless they are explicitly required by law.