Oak Brook, Illinois-McDonald's announced recently that it will begin providing the specific source-dairy, meat or vegetable-of the natural flavorings in some menu items in an effort to address customer requests and complaints. The information will be available on the company's Web site and in pamphlets in its restaurants.
The company has used the current state and federal guidelines for labeling, a system that does not include specifically describing the nature of a "natural flavor."
"Some of our customers have told us that the current state and federal labeling standards don't give them as much information as they want to answer their dietary questions," McDonald's Ken Koziol said in a statement. "If our customers want more information about natural flavors to help them make informed choices, then we want to help them."
This spring, vegetarians in Seattle and Houston filed separate lawsuits against McDonald's, accusing the corporation of using beef flavoring in french fries despite promises that it would use vegetable oil. News reports of the case also outraged some Hindus in India, who smashed windows at McDonald's franchises in protest. The company has apologized for any confusion.
Mike Gordon, a McDonald's spokesperson, declined to comment on the litigation but said the lawsuits and general questions from the public had "heightened the company's awareness."
The new policy pertains only to McDonald's permanent menu and not promotional or seasonal items, officials said. -AP