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Five Fast-Food Scandals That Rocked The Industry

McDonald's fast food carton

Over the years, there have been numerous fast food scandals that shook the world.

From the notorious expired meat lawsuit to alleged horsemeat being sold, these mistakes didn't help the already unhealthy reputations of these chains.

Here are some of the most notorious scandals in recent years.

McDonald's sneaks meat into its vegetable oil

McDonald's was honest about cooking its fries in beef fat until 1990, when it changed the recipe to vegetable oil after customers pushed for it.

However, It didn't mention the fries weren't vegan-friendly and that the ingredients list of the "natural flavors" item contained that is not only not vegan friendly, but an animal considered sacred in some countries - beef.


Three vegetarians sued McDonald's as a result, but the company argued it never specified its fries were vegetarian.

Two of the people who sued did not eat meat for religious reasons, and McDonald's agreed to donate $10 million to Hindu and other religious groups.

Expired meat is sold to McDonald's and KFC

In 2014, reporters went undercover at an American-owned factory in Shanghai, China.

They caught staff changing the dates on expired meat and sending it to McDonald's and KFC locations across China.

Yum Brands, KFC's parent company, got rid of the supplier, while McDonald's continued to use the company but at a different plant.

Failed lawsuit over Taco Bell's "mystery meat"

There was more meat-related controversy in 2011 when a lawsuit against Taco Bell alleged its beef contained just 35 meat.

This meant, according to USDA standards, it could not be sold as "beef."

It was claimed the meat had more oats, fillers and seasonings than actual beef.

Taco Bell always denied the claims and the lawsuit was actually dropped after the fast food giant revealed more information about the beef it puts in its tacos and burritos.

At the time, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed said the suit being withdrawn "Sets the record straight about the high quality of our seasoned beef and the integrity of our advertising.

"We took great exception to the false claims made about our seasoned beef and wish the attorneys had contacted us before filing and publicizing a lawsuit that disparaged our brand."

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Burger King horsemeat scandal

In 2013, certain European meat suppliers were under attack when investigators discovered they'd been mixing horsemeat with products advertised as beef.

The leading company was Burger King, where trace amounts of horsemeat were uncovered in its supply chain.

However, there was no evidence that horsemeat was found in the products themselves, but the chain switched suppliers to keep people happy.

Krispy Kreme picks the wrong letters

A Krispy Kreme store in the UK hoped to bring in people in 2015 with a Krispy Kreme Klub.

A doughnut-decorating club sounds like a fantastic idea - but not when it's publicized as KKK Wednesday.

Doughnut lovers pointed out it shared its abbreviation with the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan, so the store promptly ended the promotion altogether. 

A spokeswoman for Krispy Kreme told the Guardian at the time: “Krispy Kreme apologizes unreservedly for the inappropriate name of a customer promotion at one of our stores.

"This promotion was never intended to cause offence.

"All material has been withdrawn and an internal investigation is currently underway.”

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