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Taco Bell Has Beef with Lawsuit’s Claims

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Taco Bell by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr

Taco Bell was recently sued in a class action lawsuit, alleging that its use of the term “seasoned ground beef” or “seasoned beef” to describe the filling of many of its products constitutes false advertising — and the fast food chain isn’t taking the claims against it lightly.

The lawsuit alleges that Taco Bell uses certain extenders and binders that take the “meat mixture” out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of “beef.” Lawyers who brought the suit on behalf of Amanda Obney claim that according to their tests, Taco Bell’s “seasoned beef” actually contains less than 35 percent beef. The suit doesn’t seek money, though, only that Taco Bell stop referring to its “meat mixture” as beef and be more truthful in its advertising.

Taco Bell has responded strongly to the lawsuit with an official statement from its President and Chief Concept Officer, Greg Creed:

At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket, like Tyson Foods. We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture. We are proud of the quality of our beef and identify all the seasoning and spice ingredients on our website. Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later — and got their “facts” absolutely wrong. We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food.

Moreover, the company also purchased full-page ads in newspapers throughout the United States with the heading, “Thank you for suing us. Here’s the truth about our seasoned beef,” and further information about what goes into their tacos, burritos, and other items on the menu.

Taco Bell does list the ingredients of its seasoned beef on its website, and Creed insisted in an interview with ABC that the meat mixture is actually 88% beef.

What do you think of this lawsuit? Does it influence your decision to go to Taco Bell one way or the other?

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February 2nd, 2011 at 9:41 am