A vegan man in the US has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Burger King, claiming that he would not have bought their plant-based Impossible Whopper if he had known the cooking process would leave it "coated in meat by-products".
The suit seek damages for all US purchasers of the Impossible Whooper and an injunction that would require the burger giant to disclose that the plant-based burgers are cooked on the same grills as beef and chicken.
According to the lawsuit, "Burger King has no disclosures on its menu that would notify a consumer prior to the purchase of the Impossible Whopper that it was cooked in a manner that would result in meat by-products on the burger".
The Impossible Whopper was created with Impossible Foods, which aims its products at those looking to cut down their meat consumption.
"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, said in a recent interview.
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After the product launched in August, they were hit with complaints from vegans, who labelled the burger "misleading".
One former employee said that the restaurant production line means that "veggie burgers get soaked in meat juices".
Another wrote: "Hey @BurgerKing are you really cooking your Impossible burgers on the same broiler as the meat? I was so excited for this but as a vegetarian I guess I'm forced to not buy Impossible from you [sic]."
The patty's main ingredients are soy and potato proteins.
According to The Independent, the fast food giant faced similar criticism recently after customers found out the vegetarian halloumi burger is also cooked along with the flesh of chicken and fish.
Despite the backlash, the company said that it does state that the halloumi is cooked in the same fryer as chicken and fish in its fine print on the product's descriptions on its website.
The Impossible Whopper is not currently available in New Zealand.