McDonald’s and one franchise owner have agreed to pay $700,000 to members of the Muslim community in Dearborn, Michigan due to claims that a Detroit-area restaurant misled them by advertising their food as halal.
The tentative settlement was granted on Friday, and the money will be distributed to Ahmed Ahmed (a Dearborn Heights resident), a health clinic, the Arab National Museum, and Ahmed’s lawyer. Kassem Dakhlallah, Ahmed’s attorney, reported to the Associated Press that he was very pleased with the outcome of the lawsuit and that the settlement will be finalized officially on Friday, March 1, 2013.
In September of 2011 Ahmed purchased a chicken sandwich from a McDonald’s franchise in Dearborn that advertises its food as halal, but later discovered that the chicken did not meet Islamic requirements for food preparation. There are several requirements for halal foods under Islamic law, including that the food contain no traces of pork products and no alcohol.
Ahmed’s attorney was able to confirm with a restaurant employee who handled the food inventory that the franchise sold non-halal products when the halal foods had run out on several occasions.
McDonald’s has two restaurants that sell halal foods and both are located in Dearborn, Michigan outside of Detroit, one of the country’s largest Muslim communities. In order to serve halal items the McDonald’s franchises use approved halal chicken suppliers. “The first item that was offered was the “halal nuggets”. We also offer the Filet-O-Fish sandwich which is considered a “halal” item as well.” an employee from the McDonald’s Customer Response Center reported to Muslim Access when asked about the beef flavorings in their French fries and other suspicious ingredients.
The McDonald’s franchise owner will be retraining employees on acceptable practices for serving halal foods to ensure the system for preparing, serving, storing, and labeling halal foods is adhered to.