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McDonald’s India to use word cheese in products as FSSAI and NABL verify quality

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Earlier, the company had removed the name word cheese from its products following the direction of the Maharashtra FDA, which was not satisfied with the cheese used in its food preparations

New Delhi: Westlife Foodworld which is fast-food chain McDonald’s operator in West and South India, on Tuesday, said food safety regulator FSSAI has verified the cheese used by it and is now allowed to use the word cheese in the name of its products.

Additionally, an independent NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) has also confirmed that Westlife Foodworld uses authentic cheese in its food preparation and not cheese analogues or substitutes, its Managing Director Saurabh Kalra said.

Earlier, the company had removed the name word cheese from its products following the direction of the Maharashtra FDA, which was not satisfied with the cheese used in its food preparations.

Now under the clean chit, McDonald’s India West & South has retained the term “cheese” in the names of its products containing cheese, said Kalra in a virtual briefing.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had served an improvement notice to the QSR operator asking the information about the products using cheese and the quantity and quality of cheese after this.

“For that, we have given them all the details and they verified it. A verification letter was given to us on the FoSCoS (Food Safety Compliance System) website,” said Kalra adding that it allowed it to use the word Cheese in all products, which is one of the main ingredients of most of the products.

Kalra further said now the QSR chain has a “clean chit” from FSSAI over the quality of the cheese used by it.

Earlier local FDA authorities in Maharashtra had done a routine inspection of the Ahmednagar outlet and were not satisfied with the result of cheese. They had directed to rename the products to Westlife Foodworld to run the business, after removing the word cheese from the name of its products.

“So we renamed under protest. That time also made sure that the (new) name signifies cheese as the McCheese veg burger was renamed as Cheddar Delight. We did not go away from the proper name as we knew that we were right,” he said.

When asked about the possible impact on the business, Kalra said a lot of people had started to question the brand and the trust which was built over 20 years was beating temporarily.

“We knew that we were right. Hence we had a very confident tone of voice,” he said.

Later in a statement, Westlife Foodworld said FSSAI has verified the cheese used by McDonald’s India as ‘100% Real Cheese’.

“The confirmation from the FSSAI explicitly states that “Articles in question contain Cheese or cheese product as a part of the composition and does not contain analogue in the dairy context in any form”,” the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Westlife Foodworld, formerly known as Westlife Development, through its subsidiary Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd (HRPL), operates a chain of McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India.

As of December 31, 2023, it was operating 380 McDonald’s restaurants across 62 cities.

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