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Seattle-based lawyer Harish Bharti is confident of extracting "a horrendous amount" from McDonald's after it announced on Monday that it would begin providing the specific source of the natural flavouring for its products.
Claiming victory "for every consumer and citizen of this country", Bharti said he was confident that the lawsuits he has filed against the fast-food giant -- in the states of Washington and California in the United States and British Columbia in Canada -- would come to fruition.
The restaurant chain said information on the source of what goes into their foods' natural flavouring, be it dairy, meat or vegetable, would be made available in pamphlets and on the Internet.
Late this spring, Bharti filed lawsuits against McDonald's, accusing the corporation of using beef flavouring in its French fries despite promises that it would use vegetable oil.
Bharti said McDonald's had resisted efforts for years in the US to reveal the information, which, he said, is crucial for customers to know.
"If you were looking for a SONY television, for instance, but you were told that instead of buying a SONY, you were just getting a television, but not which one, would you be comfortable?" Bharti argued.
"As a paying consumer, you have a right to know what you are being sold," he continued. "And this is food. Once you ingest it, you can't return it."
Bharti suggested that because of the awful nature of some of their ingredients, McDonald's fought different vegetarian and health groups wanting full disclosure and lobbied the federal Food and Drug Administration against making it mandatory.
"Some of our customers have told us that current state and federal labelling standards do not give them as much information as they want to answer their dietary questions," said Ken Koziol of McDonald's, in a statement.
"If our customers want more information about natural flavours to help them make informed choices, then we want to help them."
Bharti predicted that with this move, the entire food industry would follow suit and reveal the intricate details of their foods.
Such large-scale change also figures heavily in his claims. "I'm hoping for punitive damages," he said. "Even $100 million is just small change for a corporation like McDonald's. Their signs say 'Billions and Billions served'. I want them to refund all that profit that they made by deceiving customers."
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