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Is Burger King's Rebel Whopper actually vegetarian?

Is Burger King's Rebel Whopper actually vegetarian?
Posted at 10:08 AM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 15:45:58-05

Burger King is launching its plant-based Rebel Whooper in the U.K. But some are sneering at the new product after a disclaimer on the fast food restaurant's website says it may not actually be suitable for vegetarians.

While the Rebel Whopper is 100% plant-based like its American cousin, the Impossible Whopper, the Burger King UK website warns consumers that the cooking method could prevent some vegetarians from eating it.

"The Rebel Whopper is plant-based; however, it is cooked on the same broiler as our original WHOPPER to deliver the same unique flame-grilled taste," the website says. "Due to shared cooking equipment it may not be suitable for vegetarians."

People took to social media to voice their concerns. While some were OK with the disclaimer, others were disappointed.

I'm not precious about cross contamination but I draw the line at my food literally being cooked in meat juices.

Get a new grill & change the mayo you cowards.

— 🌱 Seeds in the Wasteland 🌿 (@seedsinthewaste) January 6, 2020

Fast-food chain’s latest offering is cooked on a meat grill.

WTF, @BurgerKingUK?https://t.co/4hTayFVCfi

— Damon Evans (@damocrat) January 6, 2020

This isn't the first time the issue has come up for the food chain's plant-based burger. Back in November, vegan Phillip Williams filed a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida against Burger King because they cook their meatless burgers alongside their regular burgers. The lawsuit alleges the company is being misleading by advertising their Impossible Whopper as a meat-free option.

"Despite Burger King’s representations that the Impossible Whopper uses the trademarked 'Impossible Meat' that is well known as a meat-free and vegan meat alternative, Burger King cooks these vegan patties on the same grills as its traditional meat products, thus covering the outside of the Impossible Whopper’s meat-free patties with meat by-product," the lawsuit states.

So is Burger King's plant-based Whopper actually vegetarian and vegan friendly? Yes and no.

While the burger patty is 100% meat-free, both the UK and US version come topped with mayo, which contains eggs, making it unsuitable for vegans.

However, while the Rebel Whopper comes with the disclaimer that the burgers are cooked on the same broiler as meat items, the Impossible Whopper can actually be cooked differently to avoid meat contamination, according to the Burger King website.

"For guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request," the website says.