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14/11/01 . Unknown . Reuters . Bombay, INDIA
Indian Officials: No Beef Fat in McDonald's Fries
Bombay municipal authorities on Monday said that tests had found the French fries made by fast food giant McDonald's Corp to be free of animal fat.
Officials from the state Food and Drug Administration of Maharashtra, where Bombay is located, had also collected samples to test but have not yet submitted a report.
Public health authorities collected the samples a week ago after political activists attacked McDonald's outlets in and around Bombay, following news a lawsuit had been filed in the United States accusing the company of "secretly lacing" its fries with beef fat.
The cow is sacred to Hindus, who form the majority of India's one billion population.
"Municipal analysts have stated in their report that McDonald's French fries are free from animal fat including beef fat," Alka Karande, executive health officer of Bombay's municipal corporation, told Reuters.
Karande said that four samples of fries had been tested.
There are 10 McDonald's outlets in Bombay, the capital of Maharashtra.
McDonald's and its Indian affiliates plan to invest 3.5 billion rupees ($74.53 million) by 2003 to almost triple the number of outlets in the country to 80.
McDonald's and its Indian partners have invested 4 billion rupees in the chain's Indian operations so far.
McDonald's began operating in India in 1996. Its staple fare in India includes chicken, lamb and vegetarian burgers.
The company responded to the protests by placing advertisements in domestic newspapers extolling its commitment to