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24/05/01 . The Associated Press . The New York Times . USA
McDonald's Apologizes for Fries
McDonald's Corp. has issued an apology for any confusion surrounding the beef flavoring in its U.S. french fries, a practice that prompted a lawsuit this month by some Hindus and vegetarians.
"Because it is our policy to communicate to customers, we regret if customers felt that the information we provided was not complete enough to meet their needs," McDonald's said in a statement on its Web site. "If there was confusion, we apologize."
McDonald's spokesman Walt Riker did not know when the statement was posted on the Web site, and said it simply reiterates what the company has said throughout the fry controversy.
"This isn't anything new," he said Thursday morning.
McDonald's has acknowledged that a small amount of beef flavoring is added to its french fries during potato processing before they are shipped to restaurants in the United States.
It's something that apparently surprised some vegetarians. McDonald's announced in 1990 that its restaurants would no longer use beef fat in cooking french fries and that only pure vegetable oil would be used.
On May 1, a lawsuit against the fast-food giant was filed in Seattle on behalf of two Hindus who don't eat meat and one non-Hindu vegetarian. They have asked that the suit be certified as a class action on behalf of any vegetarian who ate McDonald's fries after 1990 in the belief that they contained no meat.
McDonald's says it never claimed the fries it sells in the United States are vegetarian.
In India, the Seattle lawsuit was front-page news, and a McDonald's in a Bombay suburb was vandalized. Eighty-five percent of India's population are Hindus, many of whom consider cows sacred. The company has said that no beef or pork flavorings are used in its fries in India or in Muslim countries, a claim repeated in the Web site.
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