Potatoes + high heat = acrylamide. Acrylamide = probable cause of human cancer.* So french fries are out, boiled potatoes are in. Maybe you'd rather not know?
Under Jewish law, a company must not harm customers, workers, neighbors or other people. Some damages require compensation, other damages (e.g., indirect) may be exempt from restitution but are still forbidden. As Aaron Levine has analyzed at length, people are permitted to consent to a degree of environmental harm. But that's informed consent. I think Jewish law clearly presupposes that sources of damage should be disclosed.
Under California's Proposition 65 law, California Attorney General Bill Lockyear announced a lawsuit this week about acrylamides in potatoes. California is suing McDonalds, Frito-Lay, Wendy's et alia to warn consumers about the cancer potential in potato products. Lockyear did not say whether he consulted the Talmud first...
As a big fan of Maine potatoes, my Dad may be concerned about whether telling people the truth will put a crimp on Frito-Lay and company. Right now, he's in the hospital recovering from surgery. Send him a refu'ah shleymah for me, and assure him that the jury is still out on hash browns!
My mother-in-law is having surgery today. A former public defender, she would be pleased that the California AG is doing something for the consumer... We wish her a refu'ah shleymah (speedy recovery) too!