McDonald’s settles case over Halal meat advertisement

mcdonald's halalDEARBORN, Michigan- McDonald’s and one of its franchise owners agreed to pay $700,000 to members of the Muslim community to settle allegations a Detroit-area restaurant falsely advertised its food as being prepared according to Islamic dietary law (Halal) .

McDonald’s and Finley’s Management Co. agreed Friday to the tentative settlement, with that money to be shared by Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed, a Detroit health clinic, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and lawyers.

Ahmed’s attorney, Kassem Daklallah, told The Associated Press on Monday that he’s “thrilled” with the preliminary deal that’s expected to be finalized March 1. McDonald’s and Finley’s Management deny any liability but say the settlement is in their best interests.

The lawsuit alleged that Ahmed bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011 at a Dearborn McDonald’s but found it wasn’t halal — meaning it didn’t meet Islamic requirements for preparing food. Islam forbids consumption of pork, and God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.

Daklallah said there are only two McDonald’s in the United States that sell halal products and both are in Dearborn, which has one of the nation’s largest Arab and Muslim communities. Overall, the Detroit area is home to about 150,000 Muslims of many different ethnicities.

The locations advertise that they exclusively sell halal Chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches and they have to get those products from an approved halal provider, Dakallah said. He said there was no evidence of problems on the production side, but he alleges that the Dearborn location on Ford Road sold non-halal products when it ran out of halal.

Daklallah said he was approached by Ahmed, and they conducted an investigation. A letter sent to McDonald’s Corp. and Finley’s Management by Daklallah’s firm said Ahmed had “confirmed from a source familiar with the inventory” that the restaurant had sold non-halal food “on many occasions.”

After they received no response to the letter, Daklallah said, they filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court in November 2011 as part of a class action.

The AP left messages Monday afternoon for attorneys representing the corporation and the franchise.

In the settlement notice, Finley’s Management said it “has a carefully designed system for preparing and serving halal such that halal chicken products are labeled, stored, refrigerated, and cooked in halal-only areas.” The company added it trains its employees on preparing halal food and “requires strict adherence to the process.”

He said although Ahmed believes McDonald’s was negligent, there was no evidence that the chain set out to deceive customers.

“McDonald’s from the very beginning stepped up and took this case very seriously,” Daklallah said. “They made it clear they wanted to resolve this. They got ahead of the problem.”

The lawsuit covers anyone who bought the halal-advertised products from the Ford Road restaurant and another Dearborn McDonald’s with a different owner between September 2005 and last Friday. Since that would be impossible to determine, Daklallah said both sides agreed to provide money to community-based charities that benefit members of this group.

The other location on Michigan Avenue wasn’t a defendant or a focus of the investigation, Daklallah said.

He said the final hearing will ultimately determine who gets what and how much, but roughly $275,000 is expected to go to the Huda Clinic, about $150,000 to the museum, $230,000 to attorneys and $20,000 to Ahmed.

Daklallah said he believes it’s the first lawsuit of its kind related to McDonald’s and halal food.

In 2002, McDonald’s agreed to donate $10 million to Hindu and other groups in the U.S. to settle lawsuits that accused the chain of mislabeling french fries and hash browns as vegetarian. The vegetable oil used to prepare the items had contained traces of beef for flavoring purposes.

Washington Post

Photo: Most fast food establishments in Dearborn advertise Halal meat products . The city is in the U.S. state of Michigan located in the Detroit metropolitan area . The majority of the Arab-Americans in Dearborn and the Detroit area are ethnic Lebanese, who immigrated from south Lebanon in the twentieth century to work in the auto industry, like many immigrants to the area.

  • FreetheME

    Halal or not Halal, Mac crap taste like S@@t

    • Hannibal

      So true… Not only that, it is deadly. Grade D food repackaged for consumption for the poor. No wonder why the poor in the U.S. is often obese.
      My 13 years old son saw a movie at school called “Supersize me” and since then he never steps foot in fast chain restaurants.

      • Patience2

        Now, HERE is a smart kid! Congratulations to him.

  • FreetheME

    Halal or not Halal, Mac crap taste like S@@t

    • Hannibal

      So true… Not only that, it is deadly. Grade D food repackaged for consumption for the poor. No wonder why the poor in the U.S. is often obese.
      My 13 years old son saw a movie at school called “Supersize me” and since then he never steps foot in fast chain restaurants.

      • Patience2

        Now, HERE is a smart kid! Congratulations to him.

  • Patience2

    Is it ACTUALLY possible for a Chicken McNugget to be halal? Is it really possible for a Chicken McNugget to even be chicken?

    • 5thDrawer

      Re-formed Chicken Patience. ;-) Blame the Chinese who made a whole generation think that chickens grow chicken-balls. Hahahahahaha

      • Patience2

        Re-formed, or, re-gurgitated??

  • Patience2

    Is it ACTUALLY possible for a Chicken McNugget to be halal? Is it really possible for a Chicken McNugget to even be chicken?

    • 5thDrawer

      Re-formed Chicken Patience. ;-) Blame the Chinese who made a whole generation think that chickens grow chicken-balls. Hahahahahaha

    • 5thDrawer

      Re-formed Chicken Patience. ;-) Blame the Chinese who made a whole generation think that chickens grow chicken-balls. Hahahahahaha

    • 5thDrawer

      Re-formed Chicken Patience. ;-) Blame the Chinese who made a whole generation think that chickens grow chicken-balls. Hahahahahaha

      • Patience2

        Re-formed, or, re-gurgitated??

  • kamille1

    how you can look at the meat and be able to tell if it’s hallal ,or not??? i just got back from detroit, i’m digging to see if i can find my receipt from mcdonald..

    • yalibnan

      We asked an expert in Halal meat processing who confirmed that it is impossible to be able to visually look at any meat product and determine whether it is Halal or not . Usually the product is labeled as Halal ( or M inside a circle) on the package . The establishment that purchases the meat usually receives a certificate issued by a mosque confirming that the animal was Halal slaughtered , but this document is usually filed at the headquarters of a company and not at the food outlet since the certificate can cover purchases for hundreds or in the case of big chains thousands of restaurants .The whole issue is a matter of trust like all certifications. Your receipt won’t tell you if is Halal or not.

      The expert said that the same applies to Jewish certifications. If you live or have lived in the US you will be able to look at any pack of product and determine whether it is Kosher or not from the labeling only. Kosher markings include K , K inside a circle, K inside star, U, U inside a circle etc…etc…

  • kamille1

    how you can look at the meat and be able to tell if it’s hallal ,or not??? i just got back from detroit, i’m digging to see if i can find my receipt from mcdonald..

    • yalibnan

      We asked an expert in Halal meat processing who confirmed that it is impossible to be able to visually look at any meat product and determine whether it is Halal or not . Usually the product is labeled as Halal ( or M inside a circle) on the package . The establishment that purchases the meat usually receives a certificate issued by a mosque confirming that the animal was Halal slaughtered , but this document is usually filed at the headquarters of a company and not at the food outlet since the certificate can cover purchases for hundreds or in the case of big chains thousands of restaurants .The whole issue is a matter of trust like all certifications. Your receipt won’t tell you if is Halal or not.

      The expert said that the same applies to Jewish certifications. If you live or have lived in the US you will be able to look at any pack of product and determine whether it is Kosher or not from the labeling only. Kosher markings include K , K inside a circle, K inside star, U, U inside a circle etc…etc…

  • joey

    wherever the case mr shithead ahmed get some money no one asked him to go and eat there easy money for them ass why the hell his wife dos not cook for him if you are really worried bout what you eat then you should not eat anywhere else then your own home

  • joey

    wherever the case mr shithead ahmed get some money no one asked him to go and eat there easy money for them ass why the hell his wife dos not cook for him if you are really worried bout what you eat then you should not eat anywhere else then your own home

  • master09

    It,s a load of crap, nothing more than a money making idea. You will see hundreds of films IN ISLAMIC countries n how they treat these animals. A couple big ones are from cattle and sheep from Australia to Malaysia Egypt and a couple others who show how really HALAL these animals are treated….
    A friend of the family who now makes three times more on HALAL inside the country and on xports than meat that looks tastes and smell the same.LOL How can meat be not the same if a HUMAN prays on it…be it Kosher or Halal..lol
    To add.
    1- The first reason is that (unless you are a butcher) you are not the person who has slaughtered the animal on your dinner table, and since the Quran is clear in holding people accountable only to their own work, then the only certain way to confirm that the name of God has been uttered on the meat is for each person to utter God’s name on the food before eating it.

    “Every human being is responsible only for his own works.” 53:39

    The Quran makes it clear that the utterance of God’s name should be before eating and not before killing the animal .

    2- The spiritual reason behind uttering God’s name on our food before eating it is given in 16:114. This is to constantly remember and be appreciative of God’s blessings on us:

    “Therefore, you shall eat from God’s provisions everything that is lawful and good, and be appreciative of God’s blessings, if you do worship Him alone.” 16:114

    As Christians we say thank you GOD ,JESUS for the food we are about to eat and make the sign of the CROSS and say a pray, rather than someone else saying it for us ……………The Quran says it to UTTERANCE OF GODS NAME SHOUILD BE BEFORE EATING……TO APPRECIATE OF GODS BLESSINGS ON US…………….Business is good, lol

    • 5thDrawer

      USA … land of the lawyers … sue for any reason, like the coffee being ‘too hot’ when you stupidly spilled it in your lap while driving a car, and ‘companies’ will ‘settle out of court’ just to avoid more legal fees, as well as the idiot publicity of a slavering press who love to dump on the ‘rich and famous’.
      We can be sure that some have fine-tuned this business of suing on silly bits of ‘evidence’ when most of those cases should never be considered by a court in the first place.
      This should have been a case of a ‘fine’ for false advertising in one restaurant, and a few hundred bucks paid for that …. not a huge rush at a corporation to maximize the profits of lawyers and the ‘religious’ money-grabbers.
      These days I’d want to be sure the meat was CLEAN and free of the bugs that kill … and Allah isn’t looking after that aspect either.

  • master09

    It,s a load of crap, nothing more than a money making idea. You will see hundreds of films IN ISLAMIC countries n how they treat these animals. A couple big ones are from cattle and sheep from Australia to Malaysia Egypt and a couple others who show how really HALAL these animals are treated….
    A friend of the family who now makes three times more on HALAL inside the country and on xports than meat that looks tastes and smell the same.LOL How can meat be not the same if a HUMAN prays on it…be it Kosher or Halal..lol

    • 5thDrawer

      USA … land of the lawyers … sue for any reason, like the coffee being ‘too hot’ when you stupidly spilled it in your lap while driving a car, and ‘companies’ will ‘settle out of court’ just to avoid more legal fees, as well as the idiot publicity of a slavering press who love to dump on the ‘rich and famous’.
      We can be sure that some have fine-tuned this business of suing on silly bits of ‘evidence’ when most of those cases should never be considered by a court in the first place.
      This should have been a case of a ‘fine’ for false advertising in one restaurant, and a few hundred bucks paid for that …. not a huge rush at a corporation to maximize the profits of lawyers and the ‘religious’ money-grabbers.
      These days I’d want to be sure the meat was CLEAN and free of the bugs that kill … and Allah isn’t looking after that aspect either.