Potato developed at NDSU now used for McDonald’s fries

Asunta Thompson, associate professor of plant science and potato breeder.
Asunta Thompson, associate professor of plant science and potato breeder.(NDSU)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 9:23 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The NDSU Agriculture Department has its fries and can now eat them, too.

A potato developed at the university is now the star of a McDonald’s meal in the form of a French fries. The newest potato added to the ‘approved’ potato list by McDonald’s is the Dakota Russet.

The Dakota Russet was developed at NDSU by associated professor of plant sciences, Asunta Thompson (pictured above).

The original cross breeding of the potato happened in 1999, with the seedling selected in 2001. The new variety was officially released in 2012 and just became an official McDonald’s potato in 2022.

“This is a dream come true,” Asunta Thompson says. “Having our russet accepted by McDonald’s for their French fries is the gold standard we all strive for.”

The potato is described as “uniform, [with] blocky tubers, creamy white flesh and golden russet skin that is well suited for fry applications.”

NDSU says the potato is perfect for Midwestern growers because it produces consistent high yields in a shorter growing season. The potato is also reportedly extremely resilient, showing resistance to several diseases commonly found among the crop.

A quality manager with McDonald’s says they spend years testing potatoes to be used in their fries. In a statement, McDonald’s says, “The Dakota Russet has delivered a great appearance, flavor and texture – producing the same great taste our customers love.”

The Dakota Russet is already being used at McDonald’s stores and sold in the iconic red holders with the golden arches. The potato is one of eight varieties the restaurant will accept.

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