Burger King says it never advertised its Impossible Whopper as as vegan or vegetarian product.
Burger King is continuing to defend itself in a lawsuit against the “Impossible Whopper,” claiming the meat-free patty was never advertised as vegan.
Fox News reports that Burger King is currently locked in litigation with a customer who sued the chain in November. In his filing, plaintiff Philip Williams said the Impossible Whopper wasn’t compatible with vegan diets, since it’s sometimes cooked in the same oil as other meat-based patties.
“Had the Plaintiff or other consumers known that the Impossible meat used in Burger King’s Impossible Whopper was contaminated by meat by-product, they would not have purchase the Impossible Whopper,” Williams’s lawsuit states.
But now the fast food chain is seeking to dismiss Williams’ suit, saying he should’ve asked how the Impossible Whopper is prepared before ordering.
Williams—who says his burger was “coated in meat by-products”—shouldn’t have “assumed that an Impossible Whopper would satisfy his own particularly strict form of veganism […] solely because he asked a Burger King restaurant employee to ‘hold the mayo.’”
“This claim has no basis,” Burger King added.
Furthermore, Burger King maintains that Williams would’ve known what does and doesn’t go into the Impossible Whopper if he’d bothered to conduct “the smallest amount of investigation.”
Williams’s suit, notes Fox, claims that Burger King’s menu makes no “disclosures on its menu” which would permit ordinary consumers to determine whether the Impossible Whopper is a vegan item.
However, Fox reports that Burger King has disclosed that its almost-vegan burger is cooked in an “open kitchen environment” alongside the chain’s other products. And when the product was first launched, an asterisk, coupled with small print, warned customers with strict diets that the Whopper may be exposed to meat by-products such as oil and grease.
Instead of marketing its Impossible Whopper as a vegan product, Burger King has simply insisted that they’re not actually made with meat.
“We use the same cooking method,” said Burger King Americas President Chris Finazzo in a November interview with Bloomberg. “This product tastes exactly like a Whopper. We wouldn’t lend our name to just anything. It looks like beef, smells like beef, has the same texture as beef.”
Another Burger King spokesperson previously said that vegetarians and vegans could request their patty be cooked on a different broiler than the one used for meat. However, Williams says neither he nor other diet-restricted consumers were informed.
But, as LegalReader wrote late last year, most of Burger King’s initial taste-testers weren’t vegans. Plus, Impossible Foods Inc.—the company which helped created the Impossible Whopper—said the patty’s designed for meat-eaters who want to consume less animal protein, not vegans or vegetarians.