Mc Ff Contaversy
Submitted By sasas
Discuss the French fries controversy and critically comment on the company’s stand that it had never claimed the fries were vegetarian. Do you think the company handled the controversy effectively from the point of view of management of rumor.
The French fries controversy began in 2000,when a Hindu jain software engineer Hitesh shah, based in US, read in a news article, which mentioned that the French fries at McDonalds contained beef. To verify this claim he send a email to MacDonald’s asking whether the French fries contained beef and if yes why is it not mentioned in the ingredient list. Shah soon got a replay which stated that the French fries contained minuscule amount of beef flavoring as a ingredient in the raw product and the reason it was not listed was they were just following the ‘code of federal regulation’ which required for labeling its product .furious by this reply a Harish Bharti a Seattle lawyer filed a suit against McDonald's saying the confirmation that the company uses beef extract to flavor its fries validates his case.
The reason for this meat extract McDonald's claims is that in 1990, instead of frying their potato products in beef tallow, they started to cook it in pure vegetable oil but because of the lack of beef tallow, they included a meat extract in the actual potatoes. While the fries are not cooked in beef fat anymore, they do contain a small amount of beef flavoring. It is during the par-frying process that the beef flavor is added. So there rises a question of integrity within McDonalds . It's obvious that including an odd ingredient such as meat flavoring is something that a lot of people with strict diets would like to be aware of but it's not common enough for us to be worried about.?Why isn't McDonalds' finding an alternative ingredient to bring the flavor back? Does including a meat extract in the french fries alter the nutritional value of protein and fat dramatically. This was the main cause of the main reason for the controversy. The suit was settled in court and McDonalds was asked to pay 10 million US dollars and to issue a new apology
• The company had taken a stand that it never claimed that its fries were vegetarian, they had said that French fries contained minuscule amount of beef flavoring as a ingredient in the raw product and the reason it was not listed was they were just following the ‘code of federal regulation’ which required for labeling its product. They added that though the fries were cooked in pure vegetable oil, the company never explicitly stated that the fries were appropriate for vegitarians, and that the customers were always told about this. They added that it was the responsibility of the customer to ask about the flavor and its source. Thus they were not only deceiving millions of people who did not wish to have beef extraction either for health reason or ethical reason they were putting the fault on the people which is like adding insult to injury.
But all this claim proved to be wrong when a letter from McDonalds company headquarters clearly bundled the fries with other vegiteranian products like garden salad, whole grain cereals etc.
Though the claim by McDonalds could not be challenged as they were following the FDA guidelines by classifying beef extract as ‘natural flavor ‘
Many claimed that they were trying to ‘play with words’, but above all it was to do with the moral and ethical responsibility of the company to be honest about its product and services it offered
• McDonalds issues a public apology in April 2002 to all the Hindus, vegetarians and others. From India’s point of view they made it clear that the French fries and other vegetarian products that are served in India do not contain any beef or animal extracts and flavoring of any kind. They had created a special menu for Indian customers, taking into consideration the Indian customs and religion. They even rejected one of their main suppliers as it did not meet the standards McDonalds. To make the point perfectly clear and to clear off all the doubts tests were conducted on the fries and the cooking medium by BMC and FDA and the test results showed that the fries contained no animal fat. Thus they were able to restore the trust among its customers and they did not loose their customer share.