A class action lawsuit has been filed against Taco Bell, alleging that its ads claiming products contain “seasoned ground beef” actually contain much more than just beef. The lawsuit alleges Taco Bell’s “seasoned ground beef” is actually “beef filling” made up of 65% binders, extenders, preservatives, additives, and other agents. That would mean only 35% of the “seasoned ground beef” is actually beef.
In response, Taco Bell has taken out full-page ads titled “Thank you for suing us” in several national publications. The ads attempt to set the record straight with the actual percentages of beef versus other product contained in Taco Bell’s “seasoned ground beef”:
So here are the REAL percentages.
88% Beef and 12% Secret Recipe.
In case you’re curious, here’s our not-so-secret recipe.
We start with USDA-inspected quality beef (88%). Then add water to keep it juicy and
moist (3%). Mix in Mexican spices and flavors, including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, and cocoa powder (4%). Combine a little oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency, and quality of our seasoned beef (5%).
USA Today writer, Elizabeth Weise, has researched the issue and explains why the percentages are so important:
"Taco beef filling" and "ground beef" are two very different things in the eyes of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, says USDA’s Neil Gaffney.
Ground beef must be at least 70% beef (no more than 30% fat) and not include added water, phosphates, extenders or binders, though seasoning may be an ingredient.
Taco beef filling must contain at least 40% fresh meat, and the label must show the true product name, such as "Taco Filling with Meat," "Beef Taco Filling," or "Taco Meat Filling."
The latter is how Taco Bell labels the beef filling sent to its restaurants, the lawsuit contends, and it includes a copy of one of the labels.