Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Vegetarian incompetance costs McDonald's $10 Million

The World is changing - at last vegetarian issues are being taken seriously and Companies are going to be made to pay if they get it wrong - Watch out Gordon Ramsay!

NCM > Supersize This - McDonald's Disburses $10 Million As French Fries Fallout: "The 24 recipients include a diverse array of organizations, ranging from Tufts University in Boston to groups like the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, North American Vegetarian Society, American Vegan Society and the Muslim Consumer Group for Food Products.

The final disbursement comes after years of litigation. First there was a class action lawsuit against McDonald's, which McDonald's agreed to settle.

The settlement is a landmark in corporate accountability in this country, said Harish Bharti, the Seattle, Wash.-based attorney who had filed the class action lawsuit against the giant restaurant chain that catapulted him into the national limelight. India-West, which broke the story, won top journalism awards from two ethnic media organizations - the New California Media and South Asian Journalists Association - and both Bharti and India-West landed on the front page of the New York Times.

Bharti decided to take on McDonald's at a time when most attorneys shied away from taking on the giant, renowned for its deep pockets and determination to stand its ground in court.

Bharti said what is unique is that he demanded that the corporation agree to acknowledge wrongdoing, something big companies are loathe to do.

"I wanted them to admit wrongdoing and (offer an) apology, which was like a foreign language at that time," Bharti told India-West.

As part of the settlement, McDonald's said in an official apology: "McDonald's sincerely apologizes to Hindus, vegetarians and others for failing to provide the kind of information they needed to make informed dietary decisions at our U.S. restaurants.

"We acknowledge that, upon our switch to vegetable oil in the early 1990's for the purpose of reducing cholesterol, mistakes were made in communicating to the public and customers about the ingredients in our French fries and hash browns. Those mistakes included instances in which French fries and hash browns sold at U.S. restaurants were improperly identified as 'vegetarian.'

"We regret we did not provide these customers with complete information, and we sincerely apologize for any hardship that these miscommunications have caused among Hindus, vegetarians and others."

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