Taco Bell's 'Beef' Isn't Beef After All?

Kim Conte

taco bell's tacosA new lawsuit is shedding light on something most of us would probably rather not spend too much time thinking about: What's really in Taco Bell's taco meat?

An Alabama law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Taco Bell complaining that the fast food giant uses false advertising with respect to the beef on its menu. Instead of money, the law firm is asking Taco Bell to change the name of what it currently advertises as "seasoned beef" or "seasoned ground beef" to "taco meat filling." Why? Simply because the mixture only contains 36 percent beef.

So what's in the other 64 percent? Do we even want to know?

We don't, but here it is anyway: What Taco Bell is calling "beef" is 36 percent beef and 64 percent "extenders" and other non-meat substances including water, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch, sodium phosphate, and "Isolated Oat Product." Mmmm ... there's nothing like a little isolated oat product to whet your appetite.

Here's Taco Bell's response to the lawsuit:

Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value. We're happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree. We deny our advertising is misleading in any way and we intend to vigorously defend the suit.

But the complaint alleges that Taco Bell's advertising is misleading because what it calls "beef" doesn't meet the minimum requirements set by the USDA to be called "beef." (The USDA defines "beef" as "flesh of cattle.") Moreover, the USDA requires food labeled as "taco meat filling" to contain at least 40 percent meat. And, Taco Bell doesn't even meet this criteria!

It looks like someone may need to "beef" up its product. Heh.

Do you eat the beef at Taco Bell?


Image via stevendepolo/Flickr

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