McDonald’s settles vegetarian suit

Judge names 24 groups to share $10M award from chain for misleading diners on cooking oil content.
CNN, May 20, 2003

CHICAGO (CNN) – A Cook County judge Tuesday resolved months of dispute by naming 24 groups to divide a $10 million settlement from McDonald’s for using animal fat in its French fries.

Of the $10 million, the fast-food company agreed to donate $6 million to vegetarian groups, $2 million to Hindu groups, and the remaining money to various Jewish groups to promote the understanding of Kosher products.

“We are pleased that the court has approved the donations and endorsed the process of finding suitable grant recipients and projects,” McDonald’s said in a statement.

Last year, McDonald’s agreed to settle lawsuits after admittedly giving vegetarian consumers inaccurate information about fries, mislabeling French fries and hash browns as vegetarian. The cooking oil used to prepare food included beef flavoring, though it was defined as vegetable oil.

The settlement was intended to compensate those customers who ate the fries cooked in beef-flavored oil during the 1990s, when the burger chain had said it used only pure vegetable oil.

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