Taco Bell Issues Statement on “Beef” Lawsuit – Updated

It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this comes out.

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– “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.”

Greg Creed
President and Chief Concept Officer
Taco Bell Corp.

A further statement from their website:

Company Launches National Ad Campaign to Set the Record Straight

Irvine, Calif., January 28, 2011 – Taco Bell announced today that it is setting the record straight, launching a nationwide advertising campaign to share the truth about its seasoned beef. The company is placing full page ads in national publications including Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today as well as in local market newspapers including Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, San Diego Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle. The company is also executing a campaign to reach its Hispanic customers.
To reach consumers online, the company launched a YouTube video featuring Taco Bell President Greg Creed speaking about the facts of the brands “not-so-secret” recipe. The video will be placed on the company’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/tacobell), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tacobell), website (www.tacobell.com) and supported with an aggressive online campaign on leading search engines and social media networks.

The Advertising Copy reads:

Thank you for suing us.

Here’s the truth about seasoned beef.

The claims made against Taco Bell and our seasoned beef are absolutely false.
Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home. It is then slow-cooked and simmered in our unique recipe of seasonings, spices, water, and other ingredients to provide Taco Bell’s signature taste and texture.

Plain ground beef tastes boring.
The only reason we add anything to our beef is to give the meat flavor and quality. Otherwise we’d end up with nothing more than the bland flavor of ground beef, and that doesn’t make for great-tasting tacos.

So here are the REAL percentages.
88% Beef and 12% Secret Recipe.

In case you’re curious, here’s our not-so-secret recipe.
We start with USDA-inspected quality beef (88%). Then add water to keep it juicy and moist (3%). Mix in Mexican spices and flavors, including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, and cocoa powder (4%). Combine a little oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency, and quality of our seasoned beef (5%).

We stand behind the quality of our seasoned beef 100% and we are proud to serve it in all our restaurants. We take any claims to the contrary very seriously and plan to take legal action against those who have made false claims against our seasoned beef.

Greg Creed
President, Taco Bell

About Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp. (“Taco Bell”), a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain. Taco Bell serves tacos, burritos, signature quesadillas, Grilled Stuft Burritos, nachos, and other specialty items such as Crunchwrap Supreme®, in addition to the Why Pay More!® Value Menu. Taco Bell serves more than 36.8 million consumers each week in nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. says

    Look at the website. There’s cocoa powder in their seasoned ‘beef.’

    Cocoa powder? Really? Not to mention silicone dioxide. Ugh. Regardless of the president’s statement, yesterday’s lawsuit (And me sharing your post) pushed three of my friends to never again eat fast food.

  2. mzwong says

    Well, not to defend Taco Bell at all, but I put cocoa powder in my chili and it really tastes good. Mole uses chocolate/cocoa to give meat a nice flavor. It’s not the cocoa, it’s the watering down of the meat product to the point that it no longer qualifies as meat anymore. Plus, just the grossness of Taco Bell. I mean, is anyone who eats there really surprised by this? I would expect that it would actually be horse meat or have a high concentration of rat droppings or something.

  3. Greg D says

    Anybody who read the 2010 New York Times article on e coli in ground beef and still continues to eat mass-market ground beef products deserves whatever consequences result, regardless of how wonderful the seasonings may or may not be. I especially liked the part of the NYT article describing how producers treat contaminated fat slurry with chemicals to make it “safe” to add back into the “frozen ground beef” product. Even better was the fact that some ground beef producers have clauses in their contracts which prohibit their buyers from doing food safety tests on the product. I eat hamburgers at Burgerville, which seems vaguely safer than other chain restaurants, or I grind my own beef at home from chuck roast. No ammonia treated fat slurry for me today, please.

    • foodrebel says

      Sorry to say, but most of people who eat mass-market ground beef products DO NOT read the NY Times. As a matter of fact, they don’t read at all…

    • Bob says

      Could you elaborate on what you mean by “mass-market ground beef products”? I.e., does that include burgers at places like Burgerville and In n’ Out?

  4. Kim Price says

    After what I have learned over the past few years about mass-market ground beef, I actually think the less beef, the better, and heck, oats and water are loads better for you than ground random cow parts. Seriously though, how can anyone who has ever eaten Taco Bell “beef” actually have thought that it was even close to 100% beef?

  5. CalypsoOrchid says

    On my first visit to France, my hosts told me that it would be considered very strange to buy ground beef, even from a market, that you did not watch being ground on the spot for you. I know many of us feel OK buying ground beef, chicken, and pork from New Seasons, say… But what do they do with it at the end of the day? I think the French sensibility on this provides safety, and also you know the cut of meat you are having ground for you.

    • grapedog says

      Good point, buying ground or even non-ground beef from small, sustainable, trustworthy farmers in your local area makes the most sense. I keep hearing that most commercial ground beef contains parts from as many as 100 different animals from all over the globe, which inspired me years ago to buy locally and even grind my own beef now and then.

  6. DinahDavis says

    After watching “Supersize Me”, I swore off fast food forever. It’s been many years now, and I don’t miss it.

  7. Tommy says

    There are similarities and differences between “mass market” ground beef and “local” ground beef. Both are obviously prone to bad handling processes, and both must be cooked properly. The most crucial distinction is probably that the closer the beef is produced to where it is consumed, the less of a degree to which one batch will overlap with another, thus reducing the risk of contamination of large amounts of beef from one or two bad batches. Not that it can’t happen, it’s just not likely to happen as much. So from a food safety standpoint, it would seem that the ground beef at Burgerville or New Seasons has the statistics on its side. That said, the French are on to something. You can always have beef ground for you at a butcher shop or counter from whole cuts.

  8. skamama says

    I made meatloaf today from 1-1/2 pounds ground elk, shot by my brother, mixed with 1/2 pound ground turkey breast. A little panko crumbs, chopped green onion, chopped yellow sweet pepper, a dash of Worcestershire, some sweet Spanish paprika, garlic was mixed up then topped with a mixture of tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and ketchup. It went in the oven at 325 for an hour, and it was quite good served with a quartered butternut squash baked at the same time. I’m taking some for my lunch tomorrow, because I know where it came from. Two weeks ago in the middle of a snow/ice storm, I went to the Subway shop next door to my work, which I had not done in more than a month. I had stomach cramps and diarrhea for two days — the kid waiting on me had to run to the back room while making my sandwich, then changed gloves. In hindsight, I think he ran back there because his nose was running. I haven’t been back since. Key is the sanitation involved in any restaurant or food preparation. I know sloppy hunters who don’t skin animals cleanly, who aren’t careful while gutting the animal. That’s why people think game is ‘too gamey.’ If they knew how animals are slaughtered commercially, they wouldn’t eat hamburger at all, because that is where all the trimmings and scraps and iffy bits end up.

  9. bellisamo says

    TYSON! Like that makes me feel better about Taco Bell product. Maybe Greg Creed should watch FOODInc. before he uses Tyson as an example of quality. I encourage everyone one to watch the documentry and then maybe TYSON should be the next company to be sued! Gross :p

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