Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mystery Meat?

Ingredients in Taco Bell's meat aren't mysterious

The fast-food chain is facing a false-advertising lawsuit that alleges its seasoned beef is mostly fillers. But several experts say the additives are quite common in processed foods.

Taco Bell fans have spent the last week wondering what's really in their meals after a lawsuit was filed alleging that the popular fast-food chain's meat contains a whole lot of mystery.

Some consumers cringed at the term "taco meat filling," which is how the lawsuit says Taco Bell should advertise its seasoned beef. It alleges that the product contains mostly substances other than beef.

Taco Bell Corp., a Yum Brands Inc. subsidiary based in Irvine, has fired back, refuting the lawsuit's allegations and defending its menu ingredients.

As it turns out, the lawsuit's allegations — and the stomach-churning terminology — hinge partly on regulatory language that is meant to be used by manufacturers for labeling purposes, not restaurants. There also aren't any hard rules that define what a company or restaurant can advertise as meat.

"Obviously you know it's not 100% organic food," said Taco Bell customer Bethany Weis, 23, of Chicago. "I know it's not good for me. I still like it."

In striking back against the suit, Taco Bell states that its beef recipe is 88% beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients. Some of those "other ingredients" aren't things you are likely to add to your own beef for family taco night, but several experts say the additives are quite common in processed foods.

The rest of the article here.

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