U.S. customer Phillip Williams is the lead plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit surrounding the Impossible Whopper, Burger King’s answer to the plant-based meat craze sweeping through the fast-food industry.
Williams claims he was served a contaminated Impossible Whopper at a Burger King drive-thru in Atlanta on Aug. 8. In the lawsuit, he says he would not have paid a premium price for the Impossible Whopper if he’d known that it was “coated in meat by-products.” He also took issue with Burger King’s marketing pitch, which says the Impossible Whopper is “0% beef and 100% Whopper.”
The lawsuit is seeking damages for all U.S. customers who bought the Impossible Whopper. It also seeks an injunction that would force Burger King to “plainly disclose” that it cooks Impossible Whoppers on the same grills as regular burgers.
The lawsuit was filed in a Miami court on Monday.
Burger King’s Toronto-based parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., has declined to comment due to pending litigation.
The chain launched a plant-based version of its Whopper in August as part of a partnership with Impossible Foods Inc., one of the top meatless producers on the market.
Impossible Foods says the product was designed as a plant-based alternative for meat eaters. It wasn’t designed specifically for vegans or vegetarians.
“For people who are strictly vegan, there is a microwave prep procedure that they’re welcome to ask for in any store,” Dana Worth, Impossible Foods’ head of sales, recently told Reuters.
Williams’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a Reuters question about the microwave cooking method.
On Tuesday, the Impossible Whopper was listed on Burger King’s U.S. website as “100% Whopper, 0% beef.” It also included a disclaimer for customers seeking a meat-free option.
“A non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request,” the disclaimer read.
An archived version of the same webpage shows that disclaimer was not present on Aug. 8, when Williams bought his burger.
The disclaimer on Aug. 8 warned that the Impossible Whopper is “flame-grilled in the same broiler used for beef and chicken.”
It’s unclear when the disclaimer was changed.
Burger King’s Canadian menu does not include the Impossible Whopper. Instead, it features a soya-based veggie burger.
—With files from Reuters