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Vegetarian in tears after biting into chicken burger due to McDonald’s mistake

A vegetarian said she was left “traumatised” after eating meat for the first time following a mistake in an order from McDonald’s.

Charlotte Sunshine’s boyfriend Calum Donaghy, 25, ordered her a veggie deluxe meal from the fast-food giant’s restaurant in Corstorphine, Edinburgh, as a treat on Tuesday last week.

But McDonald’s staff gave her a chicken burger in veggie wrapping by mistake.

The 26-year-old said she was “vomiting and in tears” after just one bite as she realised that she was eating meat for the first time in her life.

She was stunned to recognise a “Quorn-like” taste and frantically Googled her regular meal’s ingredients to find it doesn’t contain the meat substitute.

Snaps of the botched order show the meal’s two red pepper and pesto goujons replaced by a single chicken patty despite “veggie deluxe” being emblazoned on the burger’s box and label.

Charlotte swiftly tweeted McDonald’s to vent her anger but she is still not satisfied with their apology or full refund, claiming she feels “undervalued” because her beliefs should be “just as important as religious ones”.

The vegetarian says her boyfriend even had to make a two-hour round trip to give her “moral support” and take her to his house in Glasgow where she spent the next day with stomach ache.

While thankfully feeling much better by Thursday morning, Charlotte labelled the mistake “dangerous” and speculated she could have been hospitalised with a serious allergy.

She insisted the order placed via Just Eat has even put her off McDonald’s for life.

McDonald’s apologised for the “mistake” and said it “recognises that it is not acceptable to serve meat when a vegetarian product has been ordered.”

Charlotte, who lives in South Gyle, Edinburgh, said: “When I knew it was chicken all of a sudden I started to feel really sick within the space of a few minutes. I immediately burst into tears and was physically sick.

“I was really hungry and looking forward to it. I took a bite into it and then when I swallowed I realised this was not what I was expecting to bite into.

“Because I’ve never eaten meat, it didn’t really register that it tasted like meat because I didn’t know what [meat] tasted like. It tasted similar to Quorn but the veggie deluxe doesn’t taste like that.

“As soon as I realised, I froze and I messaged my boyfriend saying that I’m really panicking. I asked him to check if they’d changed the veggie burger, but when I Googled it I saw they hadn’t.

“It traumatised me. I actually got Calum to come and pick me up because I didn’t want to be on my own and I needed some moral support. He was upset on my behalf too.

“It’s dangerous. If you’re mislabelling food then it could be something someone’s allergic too. I know chicken isn’t a common allergy but as I’d never eaten it I could have been severely allergic to it. I could have been hospitalised.

“I used to really enjoy the veggie deluxe when I couldn’t be bothered cooking but I’ll never eat at McDonald’s again. I was feeling ill the whole night and then right into the next day.”

Charlotte has vegetarian parents so she was never introduced to meat and has never considered it.

She believes McDonald’s has not taken her complaint seriously enough and they need to add more checks to ensure her beliefs are respected and not ignored by busy fast-food workers.

Charlotte said: “The idea of eating a dead animal to me is so alien, but that’s why I’m not a preachy vegetarian because I’m aware it’s so incomparable to what most people experience.

“The lack of reaction from McDonald’s has really upset me because It’s a really important thing to me. They haven’t taken it seriously enough.

“It makes me feel undervalued. Just because my beliefs aren’t attached to an organised religion doesn’t mean it should be any less important.

“We’ve seen stuff in the news before where people have died from being given something to do with their allergies so it’s something they should be taking extremely seriously.

“Perhaps they need more checks because you’d have thought two people wouldn’t make the same mistake.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We recognise that it is not acceptable to serve meat when a vegetarian product has been ordered, and we sincerely apologise to the customer for the mistake that was made in this instance.

“We have a number of procedures in place to avoid inaccurate orders, but in this case these were not followed, and we are looking into why this occurred. Our Customer Services Team is currently in contact with the customer to help find a resolution.”

Just Eat confirmed the customer has received a refund.