Lawsuit Against Taco Bell – Taco Bell Beef is Mostly Filler, and Some Customers May Be Allergic

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by Nindo Mom on January 25, 2011

In a post by JoBeth Davis at WSFA 12 News and posted at had this to say about Taco Bell’s “beef” uses in their tacos:

“It looks gruesome but passable… until you learn that, according to the Alabama law firm suing the company—only 36% of that is beef.”

The problem, according to the law firm, is not that the Taco Bell used a meat mixture filled with fibers that spread the meat further and cost the restaurant less money–it’s that the restaurant used deceptive advertising and marketing when they told customers that the tacos were filled with “seasoned beef” rather than simply “beef filling”. The chicken and steak used by the restaurant were really what they advertised–just not the ground beef.

According to the snapshot on Gizmodo’s site, these are the ingredients in Taco Bell’s meet 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.

(It’s never a good sign when spell-check highlights too many of the ingredient words in something you’re supposed to eat. Yikes!)

Notice how high high up on the list oats/wheat show up? “Isolated Oat Product” is ingredient #3, right after water. Oats (wheat)–I assume this means the food manufacturer uses one or the other, depending on what they have in stock or what is in season and less expensive at the time of production–appear as ingredient # 8. Now, some people have allergies–some of them, fatal–to wheat and oats. What happens if one of these unsuspecting consumers buys a taco from Taco Bell? Because the restaurant in no way even hinted that there could be oats or wheat in their meat, the consumer could suffer a possibly severe reaction.

Also note that oat and wheat products are STARCH rather than PROTEIN products. Starch is very close to sugar, nutritionally speaking. This is one excellent reason that low-carb diets are effective for so many health enthusiasts. Just check out what Dr Sears says about sugars:

“Nutritionally speaking, there is no such thing as a bad sugar, since all digestible sugars provide energy to the body. It doesn’t matter to an individual cell whether the glucose it is using for fuel entered the body as a starch or as a sugar.”

Dr. Bill Sears is a world-renowned expert in the field of pediatrics, and has published more than 30 books on the subject–so he really knows what he’s talking about.

Why I Avoid Hamburger / Ground Meat in Restaurants:

1. It’s easy to contaminate ground meat. Anything could fall into it and remain unnoticed due to the consistency of the product.

2. Ground meat is very susceptible to spoiling. Because of the drastically increased surface area, more of the meat is exposed to air–which can speed the growth of bacteria. Lack of careful handling can only exacerbate this situation.

3. It’s difficult to determine much of a sense of quality–high or low–by examining ground meat. I normally just assume it’s low, since reducing food cost is of prime importance to restaurants (because it is often their biggest single expense). 

Beyond the fact that Taco Bell is out of line not advertising/marketing it’s meat filling properly–and not disclosing it’s high starch content–I was actually expecting to see more disgusting ingredients in that ingredients list than was actually there. I occasionally put a little oatmeal in my meatloaf instead of bread as a binder, because oats are more nutritious than common white bread. BUT–I used very little oatmeal–maybe a quarter of a cup–in the whole meatloaf. Certainly not 2/3 of the loaf!

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