Taco Bell's "seasoned beef" appears to be a clever mirage. That's what an Alabama law firm is alleging when it slapped the chain with a "false advertising" suit for misleading customers about the actual content of its Taco fillings. Surprise! The "meat" is only 36 percent actual beef. "The other 64% is mostly tasteless fibers, various industrial additives and some flavoring and coloring," explains Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz. Even though the lawsuit has prompted revulsion at this revelation, some (including the Wire) are curious: what were customers expecting from the fast food establishment?
Are Taco Bell customers expecting USDA certified organic, free-range ground beef wrapped in toasty, locally grown organic corn tortillas sprinkled with cheddar cheese made from comfortable living, grass-fed cows? That's probably not the first thing on one's mind while in a drive-thru line about to order a Volcano taco generously slathered in "lava" sauce. Here's an interesting theory, floated (perhaps sarcastically) by the San Francisco Chronicle's Mike Moffitt: Maybe Taco Bell was "doing its customers a favor by deceiving them."
Moffitt takes a look at the full list of ingredients in the Taco filings (here) and offers this observation. "Look at ingredients #3 and #8 - isolated oat product and oats. Nothing wrong with oats, is there? Oatmeal is a significant sources of dietary fiber, which helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Any doctor will tell you that oats are better for you than red meat." Which leads to a conclusion that "Taco Bell may be fudging on their 'ground beef' with cheap filler, [but] that filler could actually be healthier to eat."
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