A judge has finalized a $700,000 lawsuit over food prepared according to Islamic law between McDonald’s and members of Michigan’s Muslim community.
The lawsuit claims that Ahmed, the Dearborn Heights man who is representing the plaintiffs, bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011, but found out it wasn’t halal. Meaning, it didn’t meet Islamic requirements for preparing food. Islam forbids consumption of pork, and God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.
There are only two McDonald’s in the United States that sell halal products, both of which are located in Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn is one of the nation’s largest Arab and Muslim communities.
Both locations advertise that they sell exclusively halal Chicken and the products have been approved by an halal provider.
Kassem Dakhlallah, an attorney whose firm represents Ahmed and the class said he was approached by Ahmed, and they began to investigate. A letter sent to McDonald’s Corp. and Finley’s Management by Dakhlallah’s firm said Ahmed had “confirmed from a source familiar with the inventory” that the restaurant had sold non-halal food “on many occasions.”
In the settlement notice, Finley’s Management said it “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.” The company added it trains its employees on preparing halal food and “requires strict adherence to the process.”
McDonald’s attorney Thomas McNeill said the investigations and negotiations proved that if a problem arose, “it was isolated and rare.”
“As a firm, we’ve borne the burden of litigating this case for over 19 months, and have paid a steep price in time and money to do so,” Dakhlallah, told The Associated Press in an email. “We are happy that we are able to finalize this case and get the settlement funds paid to the Huda Clinic to be used for medical care for the community, and to the Arab American National Museum to be used to allow our young ones to continue their educations after high school.”
The final hearing will determine who gets what and how much, but it’s already roughly estimated that $275,000 is expected to go to the Huda Clinic, about $150,000 to the museum, $230,000 to attorneys and $20,000 to Ahmed.