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McDonald's faces FDA scrutiny for allegedly using cheese substitutes without disclosure

  • FDA scrutinizes McDonald's for allegedly using cheese substitutes without proper disclosure
  • McDonald's outlet in Ahmednagar has its license suspended, leading to the removal of the term 'cheese' from menu items
  • McDonald's denies using substitutes, while the FDA plans broader investigations into similar practices by other fast-food chains

23 Feb 2024

Fast-food giant McDonald's is under scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the Maharashtra FDA found evidence suggesting the use of cheese substitutes instead of authentic cheese in their products. The FDA alleges that McDonald's failed to adequately disclose the use of cheese analogues, misleading consumers into believing they were consuming real cheese. In response to these allegations, the license of a McDonald's outlet in Ahmednagar has been suspended, prompting the removal of the term 'cheese' from various menu items.

The FDA contends that McDonald's used cheese analogues, engineered to mimic traditional dairy cheese but often replacing dairy fat with more economical vegetable oil, without proper disclosure on food labels or electronic display boards. FDA Commissioner Abhimanyu Kale stated that during inspection, officers did not find any mention of cheese analogues, and items like 'cheese nuggets,' 'cheesy dip,' and 'cheese burger' were labeled as such without indicating the use of substitutes.

McDonald's, in response to the FDA's allegations, denies the use of substitutes, asserting that they use only real, quality cheese in all their products. Despite McDonald's contesting the FDA's actions, the license suspension in Ahmednagar was enforced due to an unsatisfactory explanation. The controversy arose when the FDA found that McDonald's allegedly communicated their rebranding efforts to omit the term 'cheese' in December, but the FDA insists on broader investigations into analogous practices by other fast-food chains. The FDA's scrutiny extends beyond McDonald's, with plans to investigate other fast-food chains suspected of similar practices, according to Commissioner Abhimanyu Kale.

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