McDonald's Under Scrutiny After Maha FDA Finds It Replacing Cheese With Vegetable Oil In Products; Fast Food Chain Issues Clarification

McDonald's Under Scrutiny After Maha FDA Finds It Replacing Cheese With Vegetable Oil In Products; Fast Food Chain Issues Clarification

The FDA contends that McDonald's employed cheese analogues without adequate disclosure, thereby misleading consumers into believing they were consuming genuine cheese.

Prathamesh KharadeUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 06:09 PM IST
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McDonald's Under Scrutiny After Maharashtra FDA Finds Fast Food Chain Replacing Cheese With Vegetable Oil In Products |

Mumbai: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken decisive action against fast-food behemoth McDonald's, alleging deceptive practices concerning the use of substitutes instead of authentic cheese in their burgers and nuggets, as per a report by TOI.

In response to the FDA's allegations, the license of a McDonald's outlet in Ahmednagar has been suspended, compelling the chain to eliminate the term 'cheese' from various menu items.

FDA's Allegations Against McDonald's

The FDA contends that McDonald's employed cheese analogues without adequate disclosure, thereby misleading consumers into believing they were consuming genuine cheese.

Cheese analogues, engineered to mimic the taste and texture of traditional dairy cheese, often replace dairy fat with more economical vegetable oil.

Allegedly, McDonald's failed to divulge the use of cheese analogues on food labels or electronic display boards, potentially jeopardizing consumers' health.

FDA Chief Speaks On Incident

FDA Commissioner Abhimanyu Kale in a statement to TOI said that "During inspection, our officers did not find any mention of cheese analogues anywhere. Items like 'cheese nuggets', 'cheesy dip', and 'cheese burger' were being labelled as such without indicating that the cheese was a substitute."

The FDA's scrutiny extends beyond McDonald's, with plans to probe other fast-food chains suspected of similar practices, as stated by Kale.

McDonald's issues clarification

Reacting to the development, McDonald's issued a statement on Friday. McDonald's India West & South spokesperson, in a statement, said, "Amid recent reports about the removal of 'Cheese' from our menu at McDonald's locations in Maharashtra, we want to assure our valued customers that only genuine, high-quality cheese is used in all our cheese-containing products. Collaborating with suppliers adhering to global standards ensures top-quality cheese in our product offerings and not cheese analogues or any substitute."

"We are actively engaging with the competent authorities on this issue and awaiting their final clarification. We have always been adhering to stringent food standards and are fully compliant with all applicable food laws. Our commitment to transparency in our ingredients and dedication to providing delicious, high-quality meals to our customers remain unwavering," the statement said.

Despite McDonald's contesting the FDA's actions, the outlet's license in Ahmednagar was suspended due to an unsatisfactory explanation.

In December, McDonald's purportedly communicated to the FDA that they had rebranded their products by omitting the term 'cheese.' However, the FDA insists on broader investigations into analogous practices by other fast-food chains.

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