McDonald's uses real cheese in products, authority verified claim: Franchise - Hindustan Times

McDonald's franchisee says food giant uses 100% real cheese, cites food safety regulator's ‘approval’

Mar 05, 2024 07:11 PM IST

"Verification confirms McDonald's assertion that it uses 100% real cheese and not any cheese analogues or substitutes in any of its products," Westlife said.

An executive from Westlife Foodworld, McDonald's largest franchisee in India, said on Tuesday that the country's top food standards authority has confirmed the authenticity of their claims regarding the use of real cheese in their products.

India agency verifies that McDonald's uses real cheese, franchisee says
India agency verifies that McDonald's uses real cheese, franchisee says

In November last year, a McDonald's outlet in Mumbai, operated by Westlife Foodworld, faced a license suspension from the Maharashtra government for allegedly using cheese alternatives made of vegetable oil, leading to misleading consumers. The suspension was later overturned after Westlife's appeal, during which they modified product names by removing the term "cheese" from certain items.

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On Tuesday, Westlife said that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had verified its claim of using 100 per cent real cheese in products, allowing the term "cheese" to be retained in product names where it is a significant ingredient.

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Saurabh Kalra, managing director of Westlife, announced during a press conference that the FSSAI's decision is binding on all local authorities, including Maharashtra's. The company is collaborating with the state agency to address the issue. Westlife also said that a nationally accredited independent lab confirmed the use of real cheese in its products.

"The verification confirms the brand’s assertion that it uses 100% real cheese and that it does not use any cheese analogues or substitutes in any of its products," Westlife said in a statement.

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The incident led to a 6.7 per cent drop in Westlife's shares on February 27 when it was reported that Maharashtra would inspect all McDonald's outlets in the state. However, after Tuesday's press conference, the shares rebounded, initially down 1 per cent and eventually standing 9.4 per cent higher. Kalra referred to the incident as a "bump" in Westlife's long-term plans.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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