McDonald's is jumping on the plant-based patty-wagon, but it's not guaranteeing that any of the new "P.L.T." sandwiches (for plant, lettuce, tomato) with Beyond Meat patties will be fully vegan or even vegetarian.
It's right here on McDonald's' own introductory webpage for the P.L.T.:
"Cooked on the same grill as other burgers, meat-based products, and eggs."
In other words, the odds are good that your plant-based burger will be lightly sauted in a bit of beef fat.
Now, to be fair here, McDonald's is being upfront about this fact from the start and it's not claiming anywhere that the P.L.T. is actually vegetarian or vegan.
It's kind of like how "natural flavors" aren't always natural, I guess?
Burger King actually went through the same thing when it introduced its plant-based Impossible Whopper earlier this year. Eventually someone read the fine print and noticed that those green Whoppers were being cooked in the same broilers as beef and chicken.
The revelation caused a minor stir, and we're already seeing similar reactions on social media to McDonald's plans:
It's worth keeping in mind that McDonald's is only introducing the plant-based patties as part of a limited trial in one part of one Canadian province.
Perhaps if there's a rush on P.L.T.s in Ontario like there was when KFC sold Beyond Chicken at one location in Georgia for one day, then the corporation will invest in some new grilling infrastructure and employee training?
But maybe it doesn't have to be such a big lift to prepare a product so closely associated with vegetarianism and veganism in a manner that preserves its meat-freeness.
There are amazing technologies available right now to allow for cooking these new high-tech foods without contamination.
One of them is called aluminum foil. I think some other burger joints might even know about it:
It is financially impossible to have two grills in the kitchen...what we do at red Robin is put the plant Patty on aluminum foil so that it is separated from touching the grill, but still getting cooked-- Alex Couch (@MCouchPotato) September 26, 2019
Yet another win for American innovation and ingenuity. And even for vegetarians and vegans. Glad we could figure this out together. You're welcome, McDonald's.