A McDonald's franchise in Michigan reached a settlement after a lawsuit was filed accusing the fast food eatery of deceiving customers that the food being prepared followed Islamic dietary law.
Both McDonald's and Finley's Management Co., which owns the franchise in question, agreed to pay $700,000 to settle allegations of deceptive practices. The defendants explained that they were not liable in the matter, but insisted a settlement was the best resolution for both parties.
The lawsuit was brought on by Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed when it was filed as a class action lawsuit in a Wayne County Circuit Court in November 2011. The money will be allocated between the Huda Clinic and the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn in order to cover members of the community that may have been affected by the wrongly prepared food.
Kassem Dakhlallah, Ahmed's attorney, revealed the lawsuit was filed after Ahmed discovered that a chicken sandwich he had bought in September 2011 was not halal. Halal refers to the Islamic tradition of preparing and blessing of food. Muslims are forbidden to consume pork and any animal killed for food must be blessed.
"McDonald's from the very beginning stepped up and took this case very seriously," Dakhlallah told AP. "They made it clear they wanted to resolve this. They got ahead of the problem."
The Detroit-area is home to one of the nation's largest Muslim populations with roughly 150,000 people residing in the region. Dearborn is also home to the only two McDonalds restaurants that provide halal products in the United States.
Finley's Management stated that it informs its employees on how to prepare halal food and expects the process to be carried out.
"[McDonald's] 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," according to a statement provided by Finley's Management Co.