The ubiquitous French Fries of MNC Fast food chain McDonald's was whipped up during a fiery debate on FDI in retail in Lok Sabha today when Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised sourcing concerns.
Swaraj claimed that even McDonald's was importing potatoes from abroad for their fries and not buying the produce locally.
"Ask McDonald's about their fries. They never buy potatoes from local Indian farmers, saying the potatoes are too small here," the BJP leader said while visualising a likely scenario where retail chains would not buy products from small and medium farmers once FDI in multi-brand retail comes in vogue.
McDonald's refuted Swaraj's remarks in that the company does not buy local produce, saying all the ingredients used in its products in India are sourced from within the country.
"Before setting up its business in India, McDonald's had made a commitment to government on local sourcing of its entire raw material requirement. We confidently and proudly state that ingredients used in our products are sourced locally that includes the French Fries," McDonald's India (North and East) Managing Director Vikram Bakshi said in a statement.
"We import only on rare occasions when local supplies run out," Bakshi said, adding "McDonald's remains steadfast to its commitment of working with local suppliers and farmers to source all its requirements in India".
The company along with its supplier, McCain, have worked closely with farmers in India to produce process-grade potato varieties, he claimed.
"We continue to contribute in the growth of these farmers," Bakshi said, adding when McDonald's began developing its business in India, potatoes with the right quality for 'French Fries' were not available.
Swaraj claimed that the most likely scenario would be that retail chains would not buy products from small and medium farmers at all and supported her contention by giving the example of Pepsi in Punjab which rejected locally produced potatoes and tomatoes as being below standards.