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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, May 12, 2001: Seattle-based attorney Harish Bharti has filed a class-action lawsuit against McDonald's, alleging that the fast-food giant misled its customers for over a decade by advertising its french fries were vegetarian while all the while they were flavored with beef extract. The ingredient list on McDonald's web site states, "French Fries: potatoes, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (to preserve natural color). Cooked in partially hydrogenated soybean and corn oils, TBHQ (to protect flavor)." The beef flavoring comes under "natural flavor." Bharti filed the complaint in the King County Superior Court on May 1, on behalf of three plaintiffs, alleging that McDonald's engaged in deceptive and fraudulent business. Of the three plaintiffs, two are Hindus and vegetarians, and the third plaintiff is a vegetarian. According to the complaint, "Defendants are aware of the religious sentiments of Hindus, and in defiance of Hindu beliefs, sentiments and religious sanctity, defendants knowingly put beef products into the french fries." Meanwhile, a report in The Wall Street Journal said that, as far back as 1990, McDonald's had made a claim of using "100% vegetable oil." McDonald's, in a "clarification" carried by the Journal, said: "We never made any claims of vegetarianism with our french fries or any other product."