For those still in need of reasons to abstain from the masochistic chamber of food horrors awaiting you at the nearest fast food restaurant, an Alabama law firm claims in a lawsuit that Taco Bell is using false advertising when referring to “seasoned ground beef” in its products.
According to the class-action lawsuit filed by the firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, the complaint alleges that the meat mixture sold by Taco Bell restaurants contains binders and extenders and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the USDA to be labeled as “beef”.
“Taco Bell’s definition of ‘seasoned beef’ does not conform to consumers’ reasonable expectation or ordinary meaning of seasoned beef, which is beef and seasonings,” the suit says. Beef is the “flesh of cattle,” according to the USDA.
Daniel Dee Miles, an attorney for the firm said tests revealed Taco Bell’s “meat mixture” contained less that 35 percent beef, and just 15 percent overall was protein. Miles said the lawsuit does not seek monetary damages, but asks the court to order Taco Bell to be honest in its advertising.
The complaint claims that instead of beef, items are actually made with a substance known as “Taco Meat Filling”. Apparently the containers shipped to Taco Bell stores are even labeled as “Taco Meat Filling” with no mention of the word “beef”.
Miles notes that even the term “Taco Meat Filling” is supposed to be used for products that are at least 40 percent beef, and Taco Bell’s taco filling falls short of that definition.
The other non-meat substances listed in the mystery filling Taco Bell calls seasoned ground beef are:
Isolated Oat Product, Salt, Chili Pepper, Onion Powder, Tomato Powder, Oats (Wheat), Soy Lecithin, Sugar, Spices, Maltodextrin (a polysaccharide used as a food additive), Soybean Oil (Anti-dusting Agent), Garlic Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Caramel Color, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Silicon Dioxide, Natural Flavors, Yeast, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Smoke Flavor], Salt, Sodium Phosphates.
“We are asking that they stop saying that they are selling beef,” Miles said. “You can’t call it beef by definition. It’s junk. I wouldn’t eat it.”
Taco Bell’s non-denial denial is as follows: “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.”
Last summer, at least 150 people in 21 states suffered salmonella poisoning after eating at Taco Bell restaurants, and at least one food poisoning lawsuit was filed against the Mexican fast food chain.
According to investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least two different strains of Salmonella — Salmonella Hartford and Salmonella Baildon that are rarely seen in the U.S. — were linked to people who ate at Taco Bell between April and July 2010.