Complaint alleges false advertising on Taco Bell menus and in ads

For anyone who's a fan of Taco Bell's Cheesy Gordita Crunch, or the stalwart beef taco, the following news may not sit well: The "taco meat filling" -- as it is labeled -- that the fast-food vendor uses is made up of only 36-percent beef. 

Multiple news outlets, including WTOL-TV, are reporting that a class-action lawsuit has been filed in Montgomery, Alabama by the law firm Beasley Allen alleging that Taco Bell uses false advertising on its menu and in its ads. The complaint says that Taco Bell should label its meat as "taco meat filling" because it does not meat the minimum requirements set by the USDA to be called "beef" or "seasoned ground beef".

What makes up the other 64 percent? A combination of the following:

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.

As Gizmodo points out, ground beef is defined by the USDA as: "Chopped fresh and/or frozen beef with or without seasoning and without the addition of beef fat as such, shall not contain more than 30 percent fat, and shall not contain added water, phosphates, binders, or extenders."

The USDA policy book says that food labeled as "taco filling" must contain "at least 40 percent fresh meat". At 36 percent, Taco Bell's "taco meat filling" can't even be labeled as such, let alone "ground beef". If it can't even label its "meat" as "taco filling," what option does that leave? Imagine ordering a "Meat-like 5-layer Burrito".

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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