McDonald’s Fries Contain Dimethylpolysiloxane – Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
Dimethylpolysiloxane is used in silicone caulks and adhesives — as well as in McDonald’s fries and other menu options at chain restaurants across the country.
It’s true that dimethylpolysiloxane is used in household silicon products and as a food ingredient by restaurants like McDonalds.
But studies have shown that dimethylpolysiloxane (also called polymethylsiloxane) is safe for human consumption in limited amounts.
Dimethylpolysiloxane is used as an anti-foaming agent that’s added to deep fried foods like French fries and chicken nuggets at restaurants like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Chick-fil-A and Five Guys. McDonald’s explained:
“The oil we use for our fried menu items, like our chicken McNuggets, world famous fries and crispy chicken sandwiches, does contain a small amount of dimethylpolysiloxane. This is an FDA-approved ingredient that helps prevent the splattering of oil as foods are cooked.”
The FDA last approved dimethylpolysiloxane as a food additive in 1998. The move was requested by the Dow Corning Corporation, which describes itself as a “global leader in silicon-based technology and innovation.” The FDA placed a number of limitations on the use of dimethylpolysiloxane as a “secondary direct food additive” for human consumption:
“Limitations: 10 parts per million in food, or at such level in a concentrated food that when prepared as directed on the labels, the food in its ready-for-consumption state will have not more than 10 parts per million except as follows: Zero in milk; 110 parts per million in dry gelatin dessert mixes labeled for use whereby no more than 16 parts per million is present in the ready-to-serve dessert; 250 parts per million in salt labeled for cooking purposes, whereby no more than 10 parts per million is present in the cooked food.”
A number of health agencies have reviewed the use dimethylpolysiloxane as a food additive over the years, and those studies haven’t linked it to any harmful side effects. The European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals carried out a review in 2011 that found it had no adverse affect on the immune system and was “rapidly excreted unchanged in the feces” when ingested by humans.
The World Health Organization also explored potential long-term consequences of dimethylpolysiloxane exposure in lab rats. It concluded:
“Studies have been carried out on silicone fluids with and without the addition of silica. The presence of silica did not raise any toxicological problems nor did it affect the results of the experiment in a significant way. Short-term studies have been carried out in several species, including one study on an emulsion of dimethylpolysiloxane. An adequate long-term study with dimethylpolysiloxane has been carried out in the rat. None of these studies has revealed any significant toxicity.”
Dimethylpolysiloxane is also used as an inactive ingredient in over-the-counter drugs, lotions and hygiene products. It can be found in makeup, nail polish, contact lens solution, sunscreen, deodorant and shampoo.