Vegan Sues Burger King for Cooking Impossible Whopper on Same Grill as Meat
When Burger King rolled out its Impossible Whopper last summer, the press was good, praising the innovative move as offering a heart-healthier option for diners who wanted to avoid the fat and cholesterol of beef. In the months since the backlash has begun -- there is criticism that the sodium level of the Impossible Whopper is higher than a regular Whopper and that the processed pattie is barely any healthier, and certainly not a "healthful" choice for anyone looking to eat a healthy diet. Then yesterday the chain was sued by a vegan diner who said that because the patties are cooked on the same grill as the beef burgers, it's not actually "Meat-free" as claimed.
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The opinion of this writer: When I went to try it this past summer I drove into the BK in Patchogue Long Island and ordered an Impossible Whopper, hold the cheese and sauce. The astute server said: If you are vegan you need to know this is cooked on the same grill as the meat, but we try to separate them and keep it to the side. I thanked her and said that's okay I want to taste it. She offered to cook it in the microwave and I told her no, thanks, grilled is fine. My plant-based diet is driven as much by the desire to be healthy as for other motivations -- to lower the impact on the environment and to treat animals and fellow creatures ethically, all of which is important to me. I completely understand the need to not have your food touch animal product, even a trace. I also applaud the comments in Burger King's IG posts that ask the chain to go further and make a sandwich with vegan cheese, with vegan mayo, and with a whole wheat vegan bun, while you're at it. But this is a step in the right direction and anyone trying to do better who orders the meat alternative is taking one small step toward awareness and healthier living.
At Dunkin Donuts at the Kennedy Airport Delta terminal where I was buying coffee, the man in front of me ordered the Beyond Meat Sausage sandwich for breakfast. I was happy to see it being ordered instead of a donut or regular meat. It told me -- he's trying. He's willing to taste it, or perhaps likes it. I asked the server how it was selling. "Okay!" she said. Would it sell more with a non-dairy egg and non-dairy cheese? Vegans would flock, but would everyone else? When these chains try to please everyone they please no one. I think these small steps are to be applauded. We have come pretty far when Beyond is just ordered unremarkably as a meat substitute. Let's give the chains the right suggestions, but also a little leeway to get it right. They're trying.
This is where the plant-based dieters and the vegans diverge. The sandwich itself is not vegan since it's served with cheese, and the sauce contains mayo. So if you want it to be a vegan burger you need to ask for it without sauce or cheese, on a sesame bun (which happens to be vegan, as it turns out.)