The Bizarre Reason People Are Complaining About McDonald's Japan's Fries

McDonald's fries are a classic quick-serve item loved around the world. Well, that was until recent sales in Japan. As of late, fans of the Golden Arches started to panic after this classic came out with a different, and decidedly unpleasant, taste (via SoraNews24). As local news source shared, Twitter was awash with complaints saying things like, "McDonald's fries taste funny today. They have a perfumed scent like Nivea skin cream..." or "It's not just me – everyone I live with tasted these fries and said they taste funny." 

Could it be that the fast food giant had changed the recipe of their classic side?

Added other tasters, "My fries smelled strange from the moment I opened the bag. When I ate them, they tasted like medicine and I hated itwith yet another unhappy customer complaining that the fried potatoes smelled like, "cosmetics". McDonald's spokesperson's quickly assured customers that they had not tampered with the french fry recipe in any way. The foul taste couldn't possibly be coming from the food itself.

So, what's making McDonald's Japan's fries smell and taste funky?

It seemed like a big mystery that the fries could suddenly taste so bad if the recipe remained unchanged. Could it be a pandemic-related phenomenon like the thing with the candles? Research assistant Kate Petrova recently noticed a slew of 1-star candle reviews online and wondered if it might have to due with the widespread transmission of the SARS-COV-2 novel coronavirus and its widely recognized affect on smell (via Bryn Mawr College). Could a widespread and altered sense of smell being having an affect on McDonald's french fries?

Probably not. But the pandemic could be at the root of the issue anyway.

Company representatives quickly began to notice that the complaint was very specific — it only affected medium-sized fry orders. McDonald's revealed that while the fries remained untainted, they had changed packaging recently. Specifically, the foodmakers had changed the coating on the cardboard packets used for their medium-sized fries (via SoraNews24). Somehow or other, this coating melted into the hot fried food to create a sort of make-up flavored mushy appetizer — and we're so glad we didn't try it. Many food makers have been experimenting with cost-cutting measures to manage pandemic losses, but whether McDonald's did so is mere conjecture.

While McDonald's insists that the coating was completely food-safe, they have quickly pulled the new boxes from distribution. Hopefully this didn't affect too many markets.