Taco Bell sued over meat that’s just 35 percent beef

When you stop at Taco Bell’s drive-thru window, do you really know what you are eating?

One Alabama law firm says some ingredients are unacceptable.

The fast food restaurant giant is being sued for false advertising when referring to using “seasoned ground beef” or “seasoned beef” in its food products.

According to the legal complaint from Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, the meat mixture sold by Taco Bell restaurants contains binders and extenders and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as “beef.”

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

The lawsuit on behalf of Taco Bell customer and California resident Amanda Obney does not seek monetary damages, but asks the 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.”

Registered dietitian and Fox News contributor Tanya Zuckerbrot said the fillers added to Taco Bell’s meat products can be dangerous for 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.

“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.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Taco Bell’s top competitor, heavily promotes their “Food With Integrity”-based ingredients, using meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones, as well as local and organic produce, according to their website.

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