In fact, on their giant cans that contain what will become a Mexi-melt or beef burrito, the container says as plain as day: Taco Meat Filling. And that ‘taco meat filling’ only has 36% beef in it.
Ew. Keep reading for details.
Today Gawker exposed some pretty gross facts about this mystery meat. How did they get their hands on it, you ask? They just read the label!
Here are the ingredients in Taco Meat Filling:
Beef, 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.
Okay, so the first ingredient is beef. Whew, right? Not so fast.
According to the Alabama law firm suing Taco Bell—only 36% of that is beef. In order to call something beef, it needs to have 40% beef as the main ingredient. Hence the lawsuit.
According to Gawker:
The other 64% is mostly tasteless fibers—which are there to increase volume while keeping the cost down—additives and some flavoring and coloring. Everything is processed into a mass that actually looks like beef, and packed into big containers labeled as “taco meat filling.” These containers get shipped to Taco Bell’s outlets and cooked into something that, again, looks like beef, is called beef and is advertised as beef.
Taco Bell President Greg Creed is not taking this sitting down. He released a statement defending his meat.
At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket,” Creed said. “We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture.
The impetus for lawsuit came from one person. A Taco Bell customer and California resident Amanda Obney, who isn’t even seeking monetary damages, but just wants Taco Bell to be honest in its advertising.
In case you’re wondering, beef is officially defined as “flesh of cattle”, and ground beef is defined as:
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.
At 36% beef, it just doesn’t make the cut. Shame on you Taco Bell!
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