Special Report on Burger King

Burger King French Fries ARE NOT Vegan!

In 1997, while researching for our Guide to Fast Food, we were told by Burger King that their French fries contained nothing “which would present a problem to [a vegetarian] diet. No whey, no dairy products, no beef fat, no flavoring from animals.” Recently, however, Burger King Customer Relations asserted that the fries are not to be considered vegetarian.

Burger King’s Media Relations department stated that the fries do contain a small amount of a poultry-based amino acid used for flavoring. They are not able to provide any documentation to this effect. The flavoring is currently under further development.

Burger King’s Product Consistency department informed us that the recipe for the French fry coating was last reformulated in the spring of 2001. In the meantime, vegetarians who choose to eat the BK Veggie (see below) may want to order it without the fries. Check www.vrg.org for updates.

What’s in a BK Veggie?

You may have heard that Burger King is now offering a veggie burger, the BK Veggie, on the national menu in the United States. The patty itself is produced by Morningstar Farms (a division of Kellogg’s) for Burger King and contains the following ingredients: Water, mushrooms, water chestnuts, cooked brown rice, textured wheat protein, rolled oats, vital wheat gluten, frozen onions, corn oil, frozen carrots, potato starch, frozen green peppers, frozen red peppers. It also contains 2% or less of onion powder, cornstarch, black olives, methylcellulose, salt, modified tapioca starch, rice flour, yeast extract, oat fiber, sugar, potato dextrin, konjac flour, garlic powder, black pepper, maltodextrin, natural flavors from non-meat sources, dextrose, sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, hydrolyzed corn gluten, malt extract, sage, grill flavor, basil, raisin juice concentrate, oregano, jalapeño pepper powder, sesame oil, modified cornstarch, corn syrup solids, natural smoke flavoring, celery oleoresin, wine citric acid, caramel color, and xanthan gum.

VRG intern Jeff Morrison contacted Morningstar regarding the “grill flavor” and “natural smoke flavor” listed in the ingredients, and was informed that both come from non-animal sources and contain vegetable-based ingredients. The sandwich is served with mayonnaise (which contains egg whites), lettuce, and tomatoes on a traditional Burger King sesame seed bun, which, according to Burger King, “contains a dairy component.” Burger King will, upon request, microwave the burger for customers who are uncomfortable with having it prepared on the same grill as meat patties.