McDonald's Settlement Over Vegetarian Fries Benefits Hindu Organizations

July 4, 2005

Source: Hinduism Today


On July 4, 2005 Hinduism Today reported, "This week the food giant McDonald's mailed a check for US $254,773.19 to Hinduism Today magazine's endowment fund (Hindu Heritage Endowment), one of a handful of elite vegetarian-friendly institutions in America chosen as recipients of the court-ordered $10 million settlement...It was all started by a Seattle lawyer, Harish Bharti, a vegetarian Hindu who makes a habit out of identifying the ingredients in purportedly vegetarian foods. He examined McDonald's french fries [which were found to have beef flavoring in them]... Bharti sued McDonald's in 2001, and that grew into a law suit involving a number of lawyers and organizations. Ultimately, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims, vegetarians and vegans joined the fray--the Jews because the beef flavoring was not kosher and the Muslims because it wasn't halal... The money [from the settlement] was to go, according to McDonald's, 'to Hindu, vegetarian and other groups whose charitable and educational activities are closely linked to the concerns of these consumers [having dietary restrictions].'" In addition to Hinduism Today, several other Hindu organizations, as well as several Muslim, Jewish, and Sikh organizations, received money from the settlement.