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."
He said although Ahmed believes McDonald's was negligent, there was no evidence that the chain set out to deceive customers.
"McDonald's from the very beginning stepped up and took this case very seriously," Dakhlallah said. "They made it clear they wanted to resolve this. They got ahead of the problem."
The lawsuit covers anyone who bought the halal-advertised products from the Ford Road restaurant and another Dearborn McDonald's with a different owner between September 2005 and last Friday. Since that would be impossible to determine, Dakhlallah said both sides agreed to provide money to community-based charities that benefit members of this group.
The other location on Michigan Avenue wasn't a defendant or a focus of the investigation, Dakhlallah said.
He said the final hearing will ultimately determine who gets what and how much, but roughly $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.
Dakhlallah said he believes it's the first lawsuit of its kind related to McDonald's and halal food.
In 2002, McDonald's agreed to donate $10 million to Hindu and other groups in the U.S. to settle lawsuits that accused the chain of mislabeling french fries and hash browns as vegetarian. The vegetable oil used to prepare the items had contained traces of beef for flavoring purposes.
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