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Jan 25, 2011 01:48 AM

A Taco Bell taco meat filling lawsuit?

I read this on this morning where they mentioned that Taco Bell is being sued for calling it's taco meat beef.

i haven't eaten at Taco Bell in years, not sure i'm heading that way anytime soon.

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  1. Can't say I understand that one.... the first ingredient IS beef in that mixture.

    2 Replies
    1. re: im_nomad

      Even if "beef" is the first ingredient, the govt says "beef" has to be at least 40% of the filling in order to call it "beef". Apparently in this case it isn't.

      "Beef-like flavored food substance product" would be more accurate. But what do you want for 89 cents?

      1. re: coney with everything

        Actually the article says you can only call it beef if it comes from cattle and does not include fillers or extenders. That's why the first ingredient is identified as "beef". The article goes on to say that "taco meat filling" requires a minimum of 40% beef content and this falls short by 4%.

    2. <The list of ingredients is gruesome>

      Gruesome? Talk about hyperbole. SInce when is tomato, corn starch, chili, onion, soybean oil, yeast, beef broth, etc., gruesome? Yes, I left out a few of the polysyllabic additives. They're nothing you wouldn't find on the ingredient lists of many products on the grocery store shelves and probably in most packets of taco seasonings sold to consumers.

      And I notice that when the website reprinted the ingredient list, they somehow managed to leave out the first ingredient: Beef.

      I won't argue about compliance with Federal or state labelling regulations. I'm no attorney and can't comment on legal standards.

      Don't like Taco Bell or other fast foods? Then don't eat there. Most food service providers are not in the business of intentionally poisoning their customers. It isn't good for business.

      As far as this website goes - Agenda much?

      2 Replies
      1. re: rockycat

        I'm right there with you. I can't add anything. Other than this.

        So what do these people do when they're not complaining about something??


        1. re: Davwud

          It's not a matter of getting what you deserve if you eat fast food, it's how they portray their food. If they say it's "seasoned ground beef" then there's an expectation in the customer that they're getting ground beef, not "meat filling." I'd feel the same way if I went to any restaurant, fast food or not, and the description was misleading.

      2. I haven't been to Taco Bell in ages, so I had to check their online menu to see how they name their products. It looks like they label most things as "beefy," which seems pretty honest to me. The menu descriptions do include "seasoned ground beef" and it's possible the taco meat does not include enough beef to use that term (though I don't know how much I trust the 36% claim, how did the lawyers figure that out?). At worst, Taco Bell will have to change the menu description to beefy instead of beef. It all seems like a waste of time and court resources to me...

        1. Hmmm.maybe thats why I cannot make my taco meat at home taste like TB's (which I sadly do like ?). It has too much beef in it.

          1. Far be it from me to advocate eating at what I consider to be the lowest quality fast food restaurants available. However, I am an advocate of options, and I think that those who proselytize and rail against the Taco Bells and KFCs, trying to simultaneously shame them for their food production practices as well as shame their customers for ignorance, laziness, etc., need to back off. Horror stories intended to force a change in people's eating habits will only backfire. What is needed is public education that is accurate and consistent- not political and terrifying. These sensational 'reports' about fast food processes are often greatly exaggerated, if not fabricated. For example, taking a look at the label provided in the link above clearly shows that the main ingredient in Taco Bell's taco filling is, indeed, beef. And no ingredient that follows it is particularly alarming to me- on the contrary, I was actually comforted to find that the filler used by Taco Bell appears to be oats. Granted, they're not using a grass-fed, hormone-free beef and organic steel-cut oat blend. They're using the cheapest and most highly-processed versions of each. But still, it could be a lot worse. What exactly is Gizmodo trying to accomplish by implying that there is some kind of mysterious, possibly unnatural ingredient in the place of beef? All they really need to say is that Taco Bell's beef taco meat consists of 36% beef, and so are made with what must legally be referred to as "Taco Meat Filling". Let the public decide whether that is an acceptable ratio, given the identity of the "backup" ingredients.
            On the other hand, one aspect of fast food procedures that I would happily blast them for is their treatment of animals and the mass culture of industrial, factory breeding methods they have become such a big part of. That's what's truly scary, IMO.

            9 Replies
            1. re: vvvindaloo

              I can't agree that Taco Bell is the the lowest kinds of fast food available. Condemned to eat at fast food restaurants on a grim stretch of I-35 from time to time, Taco Bell is far from the bottom. There are recognizable food items in their food, tomatoes (sort of), lettuce, beans, cheese (again, of a sort).

              1. re: ECB

                ECB, I suspect that I don't even know that much about fast food in comparison with the majority of Americans. I don't mean to say that the majority of Americans necessarily eat a lot of it, but that they simply have had more access to it. Having spent much of my life abroad, coming from a family where everyone cooks nearly every day, and also being from New York, where the fast food culture is actually rather limited (dominated by McDonald's and YUM brands), I see Taco Bell as pretty low on the fast food chain (though our local brand, White Castle, is probably just as bad or worse). Unfortunately, some of the fast food chains that I do like, such as In-n-Out, Rubio's, and Sonic, don't have locations near here. We do have some very good local "upscale" chains, though, such as Shake Shack, which I wouldn't trade for any of them.
                I am very curious to know which fast food establishments you consider to be the best and which are the worst, in terms of quality. I must confess that I have no idea where I-35 is.

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  I-35 runs through the middle of our country... from the Mexico border with Texas through Minnesota. Just a little FYI...

                  1. re: vvvindaloo

                    Taco Bell is part of the YUM (oxymoron?) brands family according to a story in today's LA Times on this issue.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Yes- Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut are the main YUM brands, I believe. I am not sure if there are any others. In the NY area, we see these three- plus McDonald's and Subway- with the most frequency. We also have a few scattered Wendy's, Sbarro, and Domino's, but I believe that most of the country has many more brands than the New York area, where independent restaurants are the "norm" and only the largest national chains seem to find a market (Olive Garden, Applebee's), and only in the most urban areas. I don't want to sound like a food snob, but I have heard many horror stories from friends and family who have moved west (though not as far west as California), and have been dismayed by the lack of access to good, independent restaurants and the clear majority held by fast food or chain establishments. This seems to be particularly true when it comes to pizza, for some reason. I am glad that this is not the case here in NY, but, as I mentioned in a post above, I do long for certain chains that just aren't available here. Rubio's fried fish tacos.... mmm.

                      1. re: vvvindaloo

                        Indie pizza is dying everywhere.


                        1. re: Davwud

                          Except in NY, I guess, where artisanal, "authentic" pizza is thriving: brick ovens vs. wood ovens, Roman vs. Neapolitan styles (with professional Italian pizzaoli to match), thin crust vs. soft crust, basil vs. oregano, all local ingredients vs. all D.O.P. ingredients, slices vs. no slices, old NY-style charcoal ovens vs. mid-century gas ovens... you get the picture. Pizza is a constant topic of conversation (ok, debate) in these parts, where it is just as easy to enjoy a delicious meal of pizza for $10 per person as it is for $30 per person. I think I've heard of as many new trendy pizza restaurants opening in the past 6 months (or 1 year or 5 years) as all types of Asian and European put together in the same period of time. The only type of food establishment that is keeping pace with upscale pizza restaurants around here is the gourmet burger joint. Every week there seems to be a new and fashionable burger place- burgers paired with wine, wagyu burgers glazed with bourbon, grass-fed organic burgers with shaved truffles on artisanal brioche buns... Must be a sign of the times- we're looking to go out and spend $30 on an upscale pizza or cheeseburger with a local microbrew, but not $100 on osso buco with Amarone. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of mediocre slice joints in ever part of this city. But I would argue that the comparative lack of chain pizza in NY is due to our collective passion for it, as well as a long history of Italian immigration and tomato/cheese imports. If anything, NY pizza options are becoming more plentiful and delicious than ever before- even if our traditional NY "slice joint" culture is slowly dying.

                          1. re: vvvindaloo

                            It's becoming a "Last bastion" kinda thing. I've noticed up and down the eastern part of the US that where ever you go, there's chain pizza and not a lot of others.

                            There are still some good chains pizzas but no great chain pizzas.