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Taco Bell Meat Lawsuit and truth in food labeling

A friend of mine told me that taco bell was being sued for adding filler to the meat. I looked it up and found the suit claimed that just 35% of the meat is beef. I also saw the Taco Bell beef lawsuit was dropped, but it didn't say why.

 

Why was the suit dropped? Can hamburger sold in a grocery store have 35% beef and 65% filler while still being called hamburger, or ground beef? Is there any truth in labeling?

 

You'll have to pardon the puns, but...

Taco Bell might want to change it's "Think Outside the Bun" campaign to "What's Really in That Taco?" after a class-action lawsuit filed against the fast-food giant claimed its taco filler doesn't, um, "meat" federal standards.

The suit against the YUM-brands chain also has a "beef" with the company's advertising, charging its claims of using "seasoned ground beef" or "seasoned beef" in its food products is false.

According to the suit filed by the Alabama law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, the YUM-brands owned chain is using a meat mixture that contains binders and extenders, and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as "beef.”

Attorney Dee Miles said the meat mixture contained just 35 percent beef, with the remaining 65 percent containing water, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch.

The suit was filed on behalf of Taco Bell customer and California resident Amanda Obney, who is not seeking monetary damages, but instead wants a court to order Taco Bell to be honest in its advertising.

"We are asking that they stop saying that they are selling beef," Miles said.

Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch said the company denies that its advertising is misleading and said the company would "vigorously defend the suit."

While the company does list its ingredients on its website — and indicates whether they are allergens — registered dietitian and Fox News contributor Tanya Zuckerbrot said the fillers could be a danger for some consumers.

“Wheat oats, soy lecithin and maltodrextrin are common allergens that are often added to processed foods as fillers because they are much less expensive than meat,” she said. “Aside from being misleading, this form of false advertising puts the consumer at risk as well.”

Zuckerbrot said according to the USDA, “ground beef can have seasonings, but no water, phosphates, extenders, or binders added.” The meat from Taco Bell does not meet the minimum requirements set by the USDA, she said.

“Rather than Taco Bell calling the meat ‘seasoned ground beef’ they should refer to it as ‘mixed meat’ and list the additional ingredients so consumers can know what they are putting into their mouths,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/01/25/wheres-beef-taco-bell-sued...

 

Taco Bell beef lawsuit was dropped,

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- An Alabama-based law firm said Monday it has withdrawn its class-action lawsuit that sought to force Taco Bell to stop calling the meat it serves "beef."

The lawsuit, filed in January in federal court in California, alleged that what Taco Bell calls "seasoned beef" is a meat mixture that has binders and extenders and does not meet federal requirements to be labeled beef.

The fast-food chain said Monday the allegations were "absolutely wrong" and the lawsuit was voluntarily withdrawn by the firm. It said no money was exchanged and it is not changing any of its products or advertising.

"This sets the record straight about the high quality of our seasoned beef and the integrity of our advertising," Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed said in an interview. "We took great exception to the false claims made about our seasoned beef and wish the attorneys had contacted us before filing and publicizing a lawsuit that disparaged our brand."

Law firm Beasley Allen, based in Montgomery, Ala., said that it withdrew the lawsuit after Taco Bell made changes to its marketing and product disclosure.

"From the inception of this case, we stated that if Taco Bell would make certain changes regarding disclosure and marketing of its `seasoned beef' product, the case could be dismissed," attorney Dee Miles said in a statement.

In response to the lawsuit, Taco Bell took out full-page ads in at least nine major newspapers, aired television spots and launched a YouTube campaign to proclaim its taco filling is 88 percent beef.

It spent between $3 million and $4 million in advertising to counter the accusations made in the lawsuit, Creed said.

He said he could not comment on any financial fallout for the fast-food company as a result from the lawsuit because of an "earnings blackout." Taco Bell's parent company, Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc., reports its quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

Yum Brands is also the parent of Pizza Hut and KFC.

 

 

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I must admit that on a RARE occasion I've gone to Taco Bell a cheap and quick meal, but I always order their meat-free, 7 Layer Burrito.  I had read about this lawsuit a while ago and that it had been dropped as well.  Even saw some of their advertising to counter-act the damage done by the publicized suit. 

 

Guess, ya get what you pay for, and a 'meat product' seems more than likely to be the way they can charge so little for their menu items.  Beans and rice is a wee bit cheaper than real meat, but probably not by very much. 

From what I've read, Taco Bell proved that their meat was 88% beef and 12% "signature recipe". This was significantly higher than the 35% beef as alleged. See this story for more info.

 

I wonder what's in that 12%? Oh well. Haven't been to Taco Bell since I found a scrub pad in my salad in 1981.

Thanks for the link Michael. I'd also like to know what the 12% filler is. I wonder about the "Hamburger" sold in the grocery store. It probably has filler unless it says 100% ground Beef.

I worked for a place that had a small canteen that sold veggie burgers. They were better than the hamburgers.

Sydni, Is there a veggie burger, or veggie burger recipe that you recommend?

I'd rather buy food from a taco truck than a Taco Bell.

I love Morning Star's Grillers Vegan; they have a great texture; do not microwave, cook them in the frying pan with a bit of olive oil, brown them well. There are many other great veggie burgers but Griller's Vegan look and taste like regular burgers the most, and you can buy them almost everywhere. If you have access to a Trader Joe's, I love the Masala Veggie Burger. There are recipes online for this type of masala burger, too.

Thanks for the recommendation. There is a Trader Joe's here. I'll get some Masala Veggie Burger's and try them. I bought some kind of Portobello Mushroom burger that was good. I don't remember the name or brand though. A grilled Portobello Mushroom with bbq sauce and mild smoke flavor is good on its own as a burger.

 

I like fish... different kinds.

Soups with red fish, fried pollock, salted herring and grilled sea bream

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