Where’s the Beef? The Taco Bell Controversy Update

Update from Taco Bell President and Chief Concept Officer Greg Creed.

“The lawsuit is bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts. Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you would buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home. It then is slow-cooked and simmered with proprietary seasonings and spices to provide Taco Bell’s signature taste and texture. Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88% quality USDA-inspected beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture. The lawyers got their facts wrong. We take this attack on our quality very seriously and plan to take legal action against them for making false statements about our products. There is no basis in fact or reality for this suit and we will vigorously defend the quality of our products from frivolous and misleading claims such as this.”’
What is in Taco Bell’s recipe for seasoned beef? “We’re cooking with a proprietary recipe to give our seasoned beef flavor and texture, just like you would with any recipe you cook at home. For example, when you make chili, meatloaf or meatballs, you add your own recipe of seasoning and spices to give the beef flavor and texture, otherwise, it would taste just like unseasoned ground beef. We do the same thing with our recipe for seasoned beef.

Our recipe for seasoned beef includes ingredients you’d find in your home or in the supermarket aisle today:
• 88% USDA-inspected quality beef
• 3-5% water for moisture
• 3-5% spices (including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, cocoa powder and a proprietary blend of Mexican spices and natural flavors).
• 3-5% oats, starch, sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the quality of our product.

Our seasoned beef contains no “extenders” to add volume, as some might use. For more information about our ingredients go to http://www.tacobell.com/

34 comments on “Where’s the Beef? The Taco Bell Controversy Update

  1. HaloEleven says:

    This lawsuit is such B.S., and the media coverage has been even worse. There is nothing in that ingredient list that shocks me. When I make tacos at home, I add water and a seasoning packet full of spices, binders, and preservatives too! Look, people who like Taco Bell do so because they like the taste and the PRICE. As long as America demands 69 cent tacos and 99 cent cheeseburgers, we should expect to eat some Isolated Oat Product with our beef. I’d rather eat IOP than ammoniated beef tissue scraps any day.

  2. Justin ST says:

    I don’t see how a business can recover from accusations like this. I’ll visit Taco Bell in a couple weeks and see if the meat quality has gone up. Then we will know whether this lawsuit is bogus or not. For a lawsuit to be filed and testing to come to that conclusion…I don’t know what to say other than it is what it is.

    • Justin ST says:

      I meant to say, if Taco Bell surreptitiously improves the meat over the next two weeks, and the difference is noticeable…yeah.

  3. John says:

    I tend to believe this much more than the claims some anonymous “lawyers” make. People have been hating on Taco Bell for years, calling their beef “dog food” or whatever. I’m pretty confident that a corporation as successful as Yum! Brands wouldn’t have such poor quality.

    • Justin ST says:

      What? Are you serious? Really?

      The most successful corporations are known for poor quality. Most of the time, you can always trust smaller businesses to have better quality, but there are some exceptions.

  4. Ross says:

    Whatever helps you sleep at night, John.

  5. ChrisLad says:

    I’ve actually been to a Mexican place where they used the word “meat” where “beef” should be. Taco Bell seems like the Ritz compared to that “meat” taco.

  6. J.B. says:

    uh huh….

  7. Francois says:

    This statement really doesn’t say anything other than they’re using one or some combination of the two lowest tiers of USDA-inspected beef listed here:
    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/inspection_&_grading/index.asp

  8. Natalie says:

    Sounds legit. I always thought it was weird that places advertised 100% ground beef burgers…my burgers at home are never 100% as they include egg, breadcrumbs, spices whatever.

    Cheap frozen meals are where you find stuff like texturized soy protein on the ingredient list. I will continue to eat and love TB and their meximelt.

    • Chefprotoss or dan says:

      Ugh… I love taco bell as much as the next guy, but please don’t call your meatballs hamburgers. Eggs and breadcrumbs? You top it with marinara and provolone too, right? Subway makes the same thing and it’s great! (sarcasm)

      • Natalie says:

        I don’t use both, but I always include one of the two to bind them together.

        Meatballs need the addition of pork and veal btw.

  9. Valid says:

    Haters of Taco Bell will just keep on clinging to more reasons to hate. All those ingredients are reasonable to me and do not show an intent to deceive.

  10. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    No offense but if your home cooked tacos have binders and preservatives, I won’t be eating food at your house any time soon. If the seasoning packet you use contains all that crap, that just makes you a bad uninformed cook. Thanks for making home cooking less relavent, memory inspiring, creative, unique and meaningfull for the rest of the world.

    • tom h says:

      Haha – doesn’t sound like *I’d* want to have you over for dinner, anyway. I’m all for grinding up my own spices and making killer tacos… but I think life is a lot more enjoyable when you can just roll with a taco spice packet after some busy day at work and not feel like you’re ruining the world. Or sometimes eat Taco Bell without undue concern. Cheers.

    • Justin ST says:

      LOL, Chefprotoss. There are tons of suspicious comments on here from people I don’t usually see posting.

    • DHL says:

      No offense (cop out for saying, you will take offense to this), but take your head out of your “sand” and realize that people do buy things that help them prepare meals as fast as possible so that they can feed themselves and their family at a reasonable price. A shelf full of herbs, spices and dried peppers costs a lot of money and does go bad, so buying all those for the one taco night at home makes no sense. I guess when I do make meals using recipes I am being less relevant, not memory inspiring, uncreative, and ununique. I don’t have title of “chef” I leave that up to the professionals.

  11. Robby says:

    They’re still delicious and the best value out there. :3

  12. Shannon says:

    Why would a lawfirm file a lawsuit if it has no merit or basis? It would seem like they would know better. If Taco Bell’s beef is tested and verified to be what the company claims, this lawsuit could be a great way for Taco Bell to get publicity.

    • DHL says:

      The same reason Judges sue for millions of dollars when a laundromat loses 1 pair of pants. World is too litigious and lawyers are just seeking settlements which give them 95%.

    • John says:

      Why would a law firm file a frivolous lawsuit? You said it yourself- PUBLICITY.

  13. Justin says:

    On two different occasions I’ve visited Subways in Las Vegas when I visited that lovely city. On each occasion, I asked what came in various subs, and was told the ingredient. One item listed was “Turkey Type Meat.” These were two different locations, two different clerks. I asked and was told they were not permitted to call it turkey. To this day, it makes me displeased.

  14. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    Ground beef(or turkey or whatever), salt, pepper and cumin. Yeah who has the time or money to throw that together? I hate having to buy a jar of cumin every year and a half for a whopping 99 cents. To top it off it just ends up going bad! Yeah and everytime I make tacos I save cash by buying an unhealthy seasoning packet for that same 99 cents and as a bonus its filled with sand and preservatives too! Two birds with one stone! Anyone know the FDA’s reccomended daily allowance for monosodium glutimate?

    If you couldn’t tell that was all sarcasm. Eating unhealthy garbage is fine. That’s why most of us come to this site. Don’t be proudly ignorant about what you are putting in your body though.

    • Mike says:

      I hope you realize that MSG is no different than salt biologically. The body breaks it down the same as it does Sodium Chloride.

      • phreetoz says:

        ur right, MSG is lower sodium, and is a better substitute, you have proven me wrong, i was about to rap on you, but read into it. MSG is a greater source than sodium, GJ :)

  15. DHL says:

    Proudly ignorant? It’s informed choice. I buy what I eat and know what is in it. I know even more now what is in Taco Bell meat and I still decide to eat it. You might as well be the same guy who runs around on all the food forums saying we should never eat anything unless it is 100% authentic… who cares if they used cream in carbonara and still call it carbonara.

    • Chefprotoss or dan says:

      Well actually that would mean it isnt carbonara. A rose by any other name etc.. Not screw it, its a rose cause I say so.

      You seem to miss my point though. We as consumers have a right to know what we are ingesting, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat it. I haven’t craved some good ole taco bell this much in some time. My second point is that you shouldn’t defend taco bell by using your lack of kitchen prowess as a basis for your arguement.

      If you respond to this, please actually try to debate instead of saying I’m like some other dude from some other site.

      And for christ’s sake will Adam or Ryan hurry up and review the new taco bell quad items! I need to know weather they are any good before I plop my cash down for them. =P

  16. DHL says:

    Your argument brought up kitchen prowess and that is where it deviated. The essential point of after being presented the listed items, that it isn’t being proudly ignorant when I still choose to patronize their establishment. Any lawyers out there going to file a class action suit against almost all restaurants now for not calling it a “Carbonaresque” pasta dish. I want my egg yolk damnit!

  17. Zach says:

    I think the legal contention will be that the FDA minimum for beef for this intended use must be a minimum of 40% actual beef and this independent lab test allegedly registered only 35% beef in one sample.

    If this allegation does not rise above a gratuitous assertion, then Yum! Brands and Taco Bell should take legal action of their own, seeing as how they perform food safety testing every day.

    I like the Fire-Roasted salsa and I could scoop Baja Sauce on everything.

    I need a 4th meal.

  18. phreetoz says:

    Dude, reading this, made me get taco bell, I don’t give a rats ass if its not all beef, it tastes great! It’s not like it’s poison, you eat it like once a month or once every other month. You people that hate need to chillax, just don’t eat it then. This will not sway my mind, i think the report is BS, but if its not, i still eat it.

    About to go there now!

  19. Holli DeBerry says:

    I eat taco bell twice or more times weekly. KISS MY ASS! Taco Bell is amazinggg!!!

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