Fast food chain McDonald’s ignored repeated red flags raised against its food safety standards in India, Vikram Bakshi, the managing director of its estranged Indian partner Connaught Plaza Restaurant Limited, alleged on Thursday. He said the company has different quality standards in India than those it has in other countries, PTI reported.

Bakshi was responding to McDonald’s India’s warning that customers face potential health hazard if they eat at outlets run by CPRL in North and East India.

“It is indeed ironic that the conscience of McDonald’s has suddenly awakened to quality and food safety in India, when for the past four years, CPRL has been bringing to their attention, including their Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook, issues of the same, without extracting a single response or visit from them,” Bakshi was quoted as saying.

McDonald’s has blatantly ignored public health concerns in India, Bakshi said.

The warning by the American company’s India division had followed Bakshi’s claim that some outlets, which had shut down earlier this week, would now reopen as his firm had found a new logistics partner. Though Bakshi did not initially name the new partner, McDonald’s said: “The unknown distribution centre is not approved to supply within the McDonald’s System.”

McDonald’s India said: “Using unapproved vendors for the supply chain is creating serious compliance risks to McDonald’s standards for food quality and safety.”

CPRL had to shut down 84 McDonald’s outlets in North and East India earlier this week after logistics partner Radhakrishna Foodland discontinued its services on December 20.

Legal battle

Bakshi and McDonald’s have been engaged in a legal battle for months, which has affected operations of outlets in North and East India. On August 21, McDonald’s India cancelled its license agreement with CPRL, as it had “materially breached terms of the respective franchise agreements relating to the affected restaurants, and failed to remedy the breaches”.

Bakshi’s company continues to operate the outlets even though McDonald’s does not approve of it.

The joint venture between McDonald’s and CPRL first hit a roadblock when Bakshi was ousted in 2013 after McDonald’s voted against his re-election. Bakshi challenged his removal in the company law tribunal and was reinstated as managing director in July.