Taco Bell doesn't actually serve 100% beef in it's beef tacos, and folks are up-set! In fact, a woman has filed class-action lawsuit calling out the fast food chain on it's false advertising. The class-action suit, which does not ask for money, objects to Taco Bell calling its products "seasoned ground beef or seasoned beef, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef."
What Taco Bell calls "beef" is actually "meat filling" which consists of water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose), soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2% of beef broth, potassium phosphate, and potassium lactate. And 36% actual beef!
The USDA defines "beef" as "flesh of cattle." The definition as read in the lawsuit states "Ground beef" "shall consist of chopped fresh and/or frozen beef with or without seasoning and without the addition of beef fat as such, shall not contain more than 30 percent fat, and shall not contain added water, phosphates, binders, or extenders."
Taco Bell says it doesn't exaggerate what it gives consumers and that there has been no false advertising about any of its products. Then again, to quote one of the gentlemen in the piece ab
Next week: Folks will be up-set when they learn that the chicken isn't really chicken.
Update: The Taco Bell folks are fighting back. They now say their "beef" is 88% "beef" and issued this statement and gave away their "secret" recipe in the process:
"The lawsuit is bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts. Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you would buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home. It then is slow-cooked and simmered with proprietary seasonings and spices to provide Taco Bell's signature taste and texture. Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88% quality USDA-inspected beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture. The lawyers got their facts wrong. We take this attack on our quality very seriously and plan to take legal action against them for making false statements about our products. There is no basis in fact or reality for this suit and we will vigorously defend the quality of our products from frivolous and misleading claims such as this."
What is in Taco Bell's recipe for seasoned beef?
"We're cooking with a proprietary recipe to give our seasoned beef flavor and texture, just like you would with any recipe you cook at home.
For example, when you make chili, meatloaf or meatballs, you add your own recipe of seasoning and spices to give the beef flavor and texture, otherwise, it would taste just like unseasoned ground beef. We do the same thing with our recipe for seasoned beef.
Our recipe for seasoned beef includes ingredients you'd find in your home or in the supermarket aisle today:
88% USDA-inspected quality beef
3-5% water for moisture
3-5% spices (including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, cocoa powder and a proprietary blend of Mexican spices and natural flavors).
3-5% oats, starch, sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the quality of our product.
Our seasoned beef contains no "extenders" to add volume, as some might use. For more information about our ingredients go to http://www.tacobell.com."
President and Chief Concept Officer
Taco Bell Corp.