SEATTLE — An apology by McDonald’s Corp. for any confusion about the beef flavoring in its U.S. french fries won’t affect three lawsuits, the lawyer who filed the cases says.
Harish Bharti of Seattle said Thursday he would continue to pursue the cases he has brought in King County Superior Court and in British Columbia and California.
He also took issue with the language of the apology.
"From my point of view, ‘confusion’ is not the appropriate term," Bharti said. "They launched a media campaign of deception."
The statement posted by McDonald’s on its Web site echoed comments by company officials after the lawsuit in Seattle was filed May 1 on behalf of two Hindus, whose religion bars beef consumption, and a non-Hindu vegetarian.
"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," the statement said. "If there was confusion, we apologize."
The lawsuit accused McDonald’s of using beef tallow in U.S. fries long after making a widely publicized pledge in 1990 to cook them only in vegetable oil.
News reports on the case outraged some Hindus in India, who smashed windows at McDonald’s franchises and rubbed statues of Ronald McDonald with cow dung. McDonald’s countered with a public announcement that fries sold in India have never been flavored with beef extract.
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