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The Impossible Whopper has never been advertised as vegan, according to Burger King's website

By Georgia Slater
November 19, 2019 02:39 PM
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Credit: Burger King

A vegan customer filed a class-action lawsuit against Burger King over claims that the fast-food chain’s Impossible Whopper contains meat by-products.

Philip Williams filed the suit in the Southern District of Florida Monday after trying the burger in an Atlanta location. He is arguing that while Burger King advertises the menu item as “a meat-free food option” it is actually cooked on the same grills as the rest of the meat products, therefore covering the outside with meat by-product,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

According to the documents, Williams claims that there are no disclosures on the menus that would warn vegan customers that the Impossible Whopper is being cooked on meat-contaminated grills, despite the burger being advertised as the plant-based alternative to the regular Whopper.

The ongoing suit alleges that the burger chain is exhibiting false advertising and monetary benefits, and Williams is asking that “all persons injured by Defendant Burger King’s deceptive and unlawful conduct” be awarded “compensatory damages.” Phillips also requests the chain “plainly discloses” where the burger is cooked.

The customer continued to accuse Burger King of charging “premium” prices — one Impossible Whopper costs $5.99, according to CNBC — for customers who would like a meat-free option.

Burger King did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

However, Burger King does not claim that their Impossible Whopper — which hit menus in August — was vegan.

According to the fast-food chain’s website, the plant-based option is described as “100% Whopper, 0% Beef” and adds that “for guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request.”

“While the Impossible Whopper does not contain meat, it is cooked in the same broiler as our beef and chicken,” a spokesperson from Burger King told Insider after the launch of the product. “Guests may ask for the Impossible patty to be prepared in the oven; however, since our restaurants have an open kitchen environment, we don’t label the product as vegan.”

Additionally, the Burger King website lists “egg” under the allergens of the item, which is not eaten by vegans as it is an animal by-product.

Impossible Burger

In fact, Impossible Foods CFO David Lee told Business Insider in September, that adding plant-based foods in restaurants like Burger King is supposed to entice meat-eaters, not vegans.

“We expect eventually for Impossible to become the new normal,” he told the outlet. “Generations from now will look up at their grandmas and say, ‘I can’t believe you used to eat meat from an animal. How barbaric, how unnecessary.'”