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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
No beef in McDonald's fries
McDonald's logo
McDonald's has been inundated with enquiries
The fast food chain McDonald's has had to reassure its customers in India that the French fries it serves are prepared without using beef fat.

The move follows a US court case - reported by the Indian media - in which a lawyer of Indian origin is alleging that McDonald's uses beef fat for cooking French fries.

India women in McDonald's
Fast food has become increasingly popular
A company statement issued in Delhi said: "McDonald's India categorically states that French fries that we serve in India do not contain any beef or animal extracts of whatsoever kind."

Hindus, who make up the majority of India's population, regard the cow as sacred and do not eat beef.

'Natural flavouring'

The court action in the US has been bought by Harish Bharti, who alleges that McDonald's continues to use beef fat to flavour its fries despite saying in 1990 that only vegetable fat would be used.

He is representing two Hindus and a vegetarian who live in the Seattle area.

He claims that the phrase "natural flavouring" was used to disguise the fact that beef fat was used.

The Times of India newspaper said that McDonalds outlets in Delhi had been inundated with phone calls from worried customers.

The paper said that suspicions in India had been further aroused by the fact that the cartons containing French fries say "Made in New Zealand."

However, it quoted a McDonald's India spokesman as saying that the potatoes arrived in India raw and were then cooked in 100% vegetable oil.

McDonald's has become increasingly popular in Indian cities, particularly with middle class families.

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29 Apr 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Indian cafes go upmarket
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