Another ‘McFrankenstein’ Lawsuit Hits Big Mac

24 February 2003

Just one month after US district judge Robert Sweet condemned McDonald’s chicken nuggets as ‘McFrankenstein’ food (although dismissing the case against the chain), the burger behemoth has been named in a second lawsuit, this time on grounds of making misleading advertising claims for its products.

The suit, filed by persistent attorney Samuel Hirsch, charges that McDonald’s ads conceal the true nature of the ingredients in its dishes by describing its Filet-O-Fish as “100% cod with a pinch of salt to taste”.

Not so, says Hirsch, who claims the dish actually contains dextrose, cellulose gum, citric acid, modified cornstarch, other unpronounceable ingredients – plus a percentage of a limbless cold-blooded vertebrate animal with gills and fins living wholly in water.

According to McDonalds’s, the latest suit is not only “senseless and absurd”, but also “a serious disservice to anyone who is looking for real answers and information about healthy lifestyles, energy balance and personal responsibility”.

Meantime, America's National Restaurant Association clearly decided attack to be the best form of defense. “Lawsuits that have been repeatedly filed by the same trial attorney,” it says, “will do nothing to help those Americans who have problems with their weight.”

Hands aloft in pious indignation, attorney Hirsch insists he merely seeks a “reasonable settlement” from the burger baron, a proportion of which would include a sum to educate consumers.

The US fast food industry, caterers and manufacturers alike, is increasingly twitchy at the prospect of a victory for the plaintiffs in any such lawsuit. This, they fear, would open the floodgates to a torrent of claims from people who attribute their obesity and health problems to junk food.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff