Detroit-- There have been only two McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. that have offered halal food. Both were in east Dearborn, Mich., which has a sizable population of Arab-American Muslims.
But after a contentious lawsuit that accused the restaurant chain of selling non-halal items advertised as halal, McDonald's has yanked its Halal Chicken McNuggets and Halal McChicken sandwiches off the menu. The move brings to an end a unique product that made the two McDonald's restaurants popular with Muslims.
"Those items have been discontinued as a result of our continued efforts to focus on our national core menu," a spokesman for McDonald's said Friday.
At one of the two restaurants, the Ford Road location, a sign in Arabic and English on its drive-through menu informs customers that halal items are no longer available. The decision to discontinue the products after a 12-year run drew a mixed reaction in Dearborn: Some were disappointed, while others said it was a good move because McDonald's had problems before with selling halal food.
The removal of the halal items, which was done last month, comes after a lawsuit filed in 2011 alleging that the fast-food restaurant was selling non-halal chicken it claimed was halal. Halal is the Muslim equivalent of kosher, requiring that meat be prepared according to Islamic guidelines, such as reciting a prayer while the animal is cut. In some cases, employees at the Ford Road location were mistakenly giving non-halal products to customers who asked for halal ones.
A $700,000 settlement was reached in April that allocated $275,000 to the Huda Clinic, a Muslim health center in Detroit; $150,000 to the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, and $25,000 to Ahmed Ahmed, a Dearborn Heights man who filed the lawsuit against McDonald's. The rest went to attorney fees.