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Harish Bharti, the Seattle lawyer who's filed a lawsuit against McDonald's, on Monday said he had concrete evidence that the company knowingly lied to vegetarian consumers about its beef-flavored fries.
Bharti released to rediff.com a letter that was sent by McDonald's' corporate headquarters to a consumer in response to an inquiry about vegetarian menu items.
Dated May 5, 1993, the letter explicitly recommends French fries as an appropriate choice, lumping it with McDonald's garden salads, whole grain cereals and English muffins.
"Thank you for contacting us regarding McDonald's menu selections for vegetarians," writes McDonald's employee Beth Petersohn, a manager in the company's customer satisfaction department.
"We appreciate your thoughts, and hope the following information will interest you."
"First, at McDonald's we're always reviewing our menu, developing new products and looking for ways to satisfy the diverse tastes of our customers. We feel it's important to offer a variety of menu items that can be enjoyed and fit into any well-balanced diet."
"With that in mind, we presently serve several items that vegetarians can enjoy at McDonald's - garden salads, French fries and hash browns (cooked in 100 per cent vegetable oil), hotcakes, scrambled eggs, whole grain cereals and English muffins...to name a few," the letter says.
Bharti told rediff.com that the letter was sent to him several days ago by a troubled vegetarian consumer. It is, he said, the 'smoking gun' that essentially demolishes McDonald's contention that it never knowingly misled vegetarians about the beef-tallow flavoring in its ever-popular fries.
"Whatever doubt there was is no more," Bharti declared. "This is the nail in their coffin."
The Seattle-based lawyer, who is waging a class action court battle against the company on behalf of every Hindu and every vegetarian in America, said the letter may bring a quick end to the high-profile fry fracas, which is taking place in California, Washington and Canada.
Two separate attorneys have also filed a class action suit in Texas seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
"This is the most important discovery we could have made," Bharti said. "We would have had to fight for years to get this, but here it is."
"This case is done," Bharti concluded.
The McDonald's Controversy: Complete Coverage
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