McDonald's vegetarian French Fry lawsuit.

Recently McDonald’s paid $10 million (to Hindu and other groups) to settle a lawsuits for mislabeling french fries as vegetarian. 11 plaintiffs got $4000 each. Does anyone know how much the lawyer Harish Bharti got?

Here is a copy of the settlement agreement. It says that McDonalds is to pay attorney fees (in addition to the $10 million), not to exceed $2.452 million. His firm was not the only one involved in the case, by the way. The amount of the fees probably hasn’t been determined yet.

Harish Bharti is either a good guy or a big fat hypocrite:

As a person of Hindu origin, I think this whole thing was bunk. While McDonald’s has taken care to comply with local sensibilities in its restaurants in India, I don’t think there is a definitive argument that they were misleading customers in their U.S. restaurants. McDonald’s in the U.S. has never advertised its food as “vegetarian” and its McNuggets as having no beef products. There is also the big conceptual difference between most American vegetarians and traditional Indian vegetarians. Most American vegetarians don’t consider otherwise non-meat food to be “contaminated” if it contains a hint of animal-origin product. It was not a risk of any kind for the plaintiffs, but it was extremely embarrassing to McDonald’s. They had to settle, even though I think they probably had a better case than the plaintiffs.

McDonald’s fries it’s french fries in beef fat, it’s chicken/fish/nuggets/etc in vegetable oil. They say that it is what makes them taste better. And in my younger years (as I’m sure many others have) I worked for them. And anytime a customer asked what we fried things in, or for a list of ingredients for allergies, etc, we told them exacty what was in it… the bottom line is, if you aren’t sure ask… just like people with allergies do. The information is readily available if asked for by any reputable company. Ignorance is no excuse for a lawsuit. “Oh, excuse me Your Honour, I wasn’t aware that this coffee was hot and it burned me”. Yet another example of them getting the short end of the stick and paying out 2Million USD. What a joke. Now don't get me wrong, I hate defending the multinat corps as much as anyone, but societal ignorance is not a justifiable reason to stick it to the man. For F@##@ sake, ask if you don’t know.

McD’s in America has been using 100% vegetable oil for all frying for some time.

I agree with the first part of your comment, but you are wrong, wrong, wrong about the hot coffee lawsuit. That woman wasn’t ignorant or stupid. In order to squeeze more use out of its coffee grounds, McDonald’s was superheating the water used to make its coffee to a temperature far higher than anyone would be used to. When we make coffee at home, it is never hot enough to cause the degree of burns it caused to this woman.

Furthermore, McDonald’s knew that its superheated coffee was a problem because of prior complaints.

Bottom line was that McDonald’s was creating an unusual risk, basically putting out an inherently dangerous product, in a way that it should have foreseen would cause harm but that a reasonable person could not have expected, because coffee usually is not hot enough to send you to the hospital when you spill it on yourself, and we shouldn’t have to take into consideration that degree of harm just from spilling prepared food.

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America provides good information on this case here and here. You can also check out Snopes.

I hate defending big corps too but if you’re referring to the case I think you are, you should become more informed yourself. This was most emphatically NOT a spurious lawsuit. The woman received 3rd degree burns and required hospitalization and several reconstructive surgeries. I know this is OT but it really bugs me when people bring this case up and try to use it as an example of frivolous, money grubbing lawyers and their clients. A quick google search will enlighten you. Here is one such link.

OK, I should have been more informed about the coffee case, I’ll admit that, but I do think that the rest of my arguement holds up.

hi all!

I for one am getting tired of the whole lawsuit thing.I was hoping McD wouldnt half to pay,but not surprised it did.If I hear
one more coffee lawsuit,Im gonna scream bloody murder!

Actually they use 70% vegetable oil and 30% cottonseed oil for everything these days due to the higher flash point of hydrogenated vegetable oils. The resons the fries still taste like beef tallow cooked fries is the jist of the lawsuit, they are in fact sprayed and precooked in a chemichal that has a small amount of beef essence in it to give them that flavor.

This is true at least in the US. I do believe that in Canada and some other countries they still cook the fries in beef tallow.

ascenray, are you saying that American Hindus don’t care if they ingest small quantities of beef products? I agree that most American vegetarians aren’t that strict but obviously some of them are. McDonald’s is voluntarily giving money to charities - I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with that. (60% to vegetarian organizations; 20% to Hindu and/or Sikh organizations; 10% to children’s nutrition and hunger relief organizations; and 10% to organizations promoting the understanding Kosher foods and dietary practices.) According to McDonald’s own admission, they did identify foods as vegetarian that were not, and also mislead the public by advertising a switch to vegetable oil. Perhaps you worked for them prior to that time?

Yes, but the potatoes for fries and hash browns during processing are soaked in some kind of beef broth, to add flavor. And here I thought it was the grease that made me feel ill.

The reason I never asked if their fries contain beef broth is because I couldn’t conceive of such a thing ever being done. Between that and too many “contamination” incidents (for instance, ordering broccoli cheese soup and getting half that, half clam chowder), I just don’t trust most restaurants any longer.

One of the things presented in the court case as eviddnve was a letter sent by a McDonald’s corporate representative in answer to a womans question about vegetarian choices at McDonalds.

Along with some other items french fries were listed as a vegetarian menu item. The book Fast Food Nation talks about this a little bit, but you need to get the second printing which came out after the lawsuit began.

No, I’m not saying that. I was drawing a difference between Hindu-style vegetarians and western-style “vegetarians” (quotes illustrate how Hindu vegetarians feel about them). The prime example is that most western-style vegetarians are content to eat from a dish (or sandwich or whatever) that was prepared with meat but the chunks of meat have been removed. Whereas in Hindu-style vegetarianism, any food or utensil or cookware that has come into contact with any meat product is contaminated and cannot be touched.

But now that you mention it, from personal experience, I believe a majority of non-vegetarian Hindu-Americans (I’m speaking of those of Indian origin, not “white Hindus”) have no problems with eating beef, whether in small quantities or large. A rigorous determination of the facts might show I’m wrong about the “majority” part, but nonetheless a good proportion of Hindu Indian-Americans have no qualms about beef eating, especially children, men, and those born in the United States.