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McDonald’s pays $700,000 to settle suit over non-halal food

Two Detroit-area restaurants allegedly advertised halal fare, but sold products that did not conform to Islamic dietary restrictions

McDonald’s Corp. is in hot water over its food, but the problem this time isn’t calorie counts—it’s the restaurant’s alleged failure to comply with Muslim dietary law, despite its advertising to the contrary.

The fast food chain advertises halal food at two of its locations near Dearborn, Mich., which is home to one of the country’s largest Arab and Muslim communities. Local resident Ahmed Ahmed brought the suit against McDonald’s and one of its franchise owners, Finley’s Management Co., in November 2011, two months after he ordered a chicken sandwich at one of those locations and allegedly discovered that it wasn’t halal.

Ahmed’s lawyer claims that the restaurant sold non-halal food when it ran out of halal products. Islamic dietary requirements prohibit the consumption of pork and call for God’s name to be invoked before an animal is slaughtered.

The settlement applies to any customer who bought purported halal products from the two Michigan locations between September 2005 and last Friday. But because of the difficulty of identifying these individuals, both sides have reportedly agreed to pay much of the settlement money to local charities that benefit Muslims, with about $270,000 going to a Detroit free clinic, roughly $150,000 going to the Arab American National Museum, $230,000 to lawyers and $20,000 to Ahmed.

McDonald’s did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Finley’s Management said in a statement that it has a “carefully designed system” for preparing halal products, and that it trains its employees on that process.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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Alanna Byrne

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