McDonald’s imports french fries, not potatoes

New Delhi, Dec 7 (TruthDive) : McDonald’s french fries are imported while PepsiCo claims it buys potatoes locally. KFC is pushing for chicken imports from US since local birds are not tasty as their counterparts back home.

Sushma Swaraj told Parliament that fast food major McDonald’s imports potatoes. The company said it has never done so and when data was shown, it changed it as it imports french fries only on “rare occasions.”

These rare occasions are far too many, says Business Line. MacFries (McDonald’s trademark French fries) worth Rs 3.5 crore were imported but as they said not as potatoes through Nhava Sheva port.

French fries made out of potatoes were imported to the tune of Rs 6 crore worth since January-November 2012. The break up is Rs 1.4 crore worth in January, Rs 58 lakh worth in August and Rs 59 lakh worth in October and that through just that one port. Data on other ports have not come in.

In a Parliament debate on FDI in multi-brand retail, the Lok Sabha Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said McDonald’s and PepsiCo were importing food from US and not locally saying the potatoes are too small in India.

McDonald’s India said that before setting up business in India, it had made a commitment to the Government that it would use only local raw material for its requirement.

Supplier McCain who outsources potatoes from farmers in India too could produce process-grade potato varieties and could not meet the demand since it was in short supply is their argument.

McDonald’s now says that yes it does import whenever there are local supply shortage. Indians consumed French Fries this year more than before and so it was imported. At the same time our farmer could not keep up KFC’s demands.

The company says of the annual consumption of French fries, the import figure is small and more of this dish is made from Indian farmers.

PepsiCo India claims Indian potato procured was 240,000 MT in 2012. In nine states, PepsiCo India partners with 24000 farmers. It has established a model of partnership with farmers. It provides state of the art potato seed facility to farmers in Punjab and Haryana.

US has moved the WTO saying that India is stonewalling the import of chicken against the law of protectionism. If WTO rules in favour of US, then we can get chicken dishes made from US born birds.

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