Westlife Foodworld, which operates McDonald’s outlets in West and South India, on Friday said that it uses “genuine” and “high-quality cheese” in its products. The restaurant operator has renamed some food items, removing the word “cheese” from its menu in locations in Maharashtra, after t allegations that it uses cheese substitutes in some products. The company said that it is engaging with authorities on the issue.

According to media reports, the Maharashtra Food and Drug Authority had accused the QSR chain of using cheese substitutes in some products without proper labelling and had suspended the license of an outlet in Ahmednagar. This led the restaurant operator to remove the word “cheese” from the nomenclature of some food products on its menu in some outlets in the state.

In a BSE filing, Westlife Foodworld said, “Amid recent reports about the removal of ‘Cheese’ from our menu at McDonald’s locations in Maharashtra, we want to assure our valued customers that only genuine, high-quality cheese is used in all our cheese-containing products. Collaborating with suppliers adhering to global standards ensures top-quality cheese in our product offerings and not cheese analogues or any substitute.”

“We are actively engaging with the competent authorities on this issue and awaiting their final clarification. We have always been adhering to stringent food standards and are fully compliant with all applicable food laws,” it added. Our commitment to transparency in our ingredients and dedication to providing delicious, high-quality meals to our customers remain unwavering,” the restaurant operator added.

Westlife Foodworld’s subsidiary, Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd, has the franchisee rights to own and operate McDonald’s restaurants in India’s West and South regions.