Do You Know What Grade Of Beef Taco Bell Uses? Do They? Does Anyone?

A reader sent us the contents of a Better Business Bureau complaint filed against Taco Bell. It describes how a customer tried repeatedly to find out what grade beef Taco Bell uses in its food, and how nobody at the company was able or willing to provide an answer. Not surprisingly, the BBB complaint also went unanswered. Let’s just hope they’re not sourcing their beef from forklift cattle, which is like downer cattle but has odd prong-shaped bruises on the side.

Here’s the actual BBB complain that went unanswered by Taco Bell:

About 3 weeks ago i called the 800# asking what grade of beef they use. All they could tell me was usda approved. I called 4 times and got the same, twice i left my # and was told a nutritionalist would call me back….no call ever came. I next e mailed corp with the same question. I was answered by a Sandy Shakelford telline me:I have located a phone number contact in which you can inquire about our meat. Taco Bell Corporation 949-863-4500 and ask for the QA Department. I called a total of three times first got a prompt telling me to put in MY voice mail # to get my messages. Next i was transfered to a recording telling of bad cheese both plain and mixed and to throw them out and call in for a credit. Third was disconected. 4th i got a voice mailbox in the Quality control dept. i think his name was Steve…Again i left my question and # and again no call back. On Feb 27 i e mailed Sandy telling her what my phone experiance was and had not got an answer to my question…That was 10 days ago and again no contact from Sandy nor Taco Bell. Side note the web sight says contact us call 1800 TACO BELL when its actually 800 TACO BEL….The companys resistance to answer my question tells me what i was told by a friend that worked there that they use poor yet usda approved beef could be true.

(Thanks to Moe!)

(Photo: karlfrankowski)

Comments

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  1. Coder4Life says:

    To be exact.. GRADE D.

  2. parad0x360 says:

    Now this is from a friend of a friend who worked there for a time..

    I was told they use Grade E meat whatever that means. He said it was marked on the packages of meat they received and he would never eat from there once he started working there.

  3. SpdRacer says:

    It is probably the same crap beef McD$ uses, Prison/School Grade. Mmmmmm tasty!

  4. Veeber says:

    call 1800 TACO BELL when its actually 800 TACO BEL….

    Eh, don’t complain about the phone number, it’s the same, now the desire not to answer is insteresting, but the phone number should be a non-issue

  5. Coder4Life says:

    They might be a little hesitant to tell you that b/ it’s close to the level of doggy food that your little poodle eats..

  6. Coder4Life says:

    @parad0x360: I thougt that Grade E meat was like not for humans.

  7. bohemian says:

    According to this there is no mandatory letter grading system for beef via the USDA
    [everything2.com]

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have some sort of information about the source, quality and handling of said beef.

  8. B says:

    I’m not sure. Whatever grade Chihuahua is.

  9. djanes1 says:

    who cares about the beef, I’m in it for the bean burritos!

  10. dogmaratt says:

    “Sandy Shakelford “

    Any relation to Rusty Shackleford? ;)

  11. crunchtime2k says:

    no joke i just got taco bell and sat down took my first bite. and here this article is.

  12. TechnoDestructo says:

    GRADE F MEAT – Ingredients: Mostly circus animals, some filler

  13. strife1012 says:

    There is a reason why every former employee never eats there, and I bet its not only the Beef. I say EECB YUM Brand Corp.

  14. Lucky225 says:

    First of all USDA does not use a letter grading scale. USDA grading is Prime, Choice, and Select. Lower grades (Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner). Also USDA grading is VOLUNTARY.

    Source: USDA Fact Sheet.

    [www.fsis.usda.gov]

    How is Beef Inspected?
    Inspection is mandatory; grading is voluntary, and a plant pays to have its meat graded. USDA-graded beef sold at the retail level is Prime, Choice, and Select. Lower grades (Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner) are mainly ground or used in processed meat products. Retail stores may use other terms which must be different from USDA grades.

  15. 44 in a Row says:

    USDA grading is a lot more important for whole cuts of meat, like steaks, than it is for ground beef. Bear in mind, too, that one of the primary grading criteria is the amount of fat in the beef, so a “higher” grade isn’t necessarily desirable for meat that’s being ground up. And finally, as Bohemian pointed out, grading is entirely voluntary (restaurants like to be able to advertise that their meat is “Prime” or “Choice”, but if you’re not going to advertise the grade, it’s a waste of money), so it’s a near-certainty that Taco Bell doesn’t bother to have their meat graded.

    Also, there’s no letter-grading.

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  16. BugMeNot2 says:

    Where do you think the Taco Bell mascot ended up?

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmm yo queiro perro

  17. Megatenist says:

    Someone has to say it…

    TACO BELL BEEF IS MADE OF PEOPLE!!!
    OH,THE HUMANITY!!

    Seriously,I don’t think I WANT to know..

  18. Oryx says:

    Grade D, same meat that is used in most dog food.

    Yes, I have been a vegetarian for about 6 years now.

  19. plustax says:

    Remember, you get what you pay for. I don’t want to pay $8.49 for a taco. I like going to taco bell for the adventure, I’m a big risk taker.

  20. Oryx says:

    (or cutter/canner)

  21. redpeppers20xx says:

    The lowest grade allowed for human consumption. It’s how they can still sell .99 chili-cheese buritos.

    Based on rising costs,if they actually used a decent grade of beef those chili-cheese things should cost like $2.25 by now.

  22. FilthyHarry says:

    They use beef!?!? I thought it was styrofoam and chemical flavoring.

  23. cheviot says:

    There are 8 USDA grades of beef.

    Prime
    Choice
    Select
    Standard
    Commercial
    Utility
    Cutter
    Canner

    Prime is generally only used by higher end restaurants. Choice and Select is found in butcher shops. House brand meat in supermarkets is generally Standard or Commercial grade.

    Utility, Cutter and Canner are almost never sold at retail and are used to make ground or processed meat products.

    We can pretty much guess which grades taco bell uses.

    That being said, grades reflect the tenderness, juiciness and flavor of the meat and nothing else. Lesser grades are no less healthy or safe than higher grades.

    Even if Taco Bell were to use USDA Prime beef in it’s tacos, due to the cooking techniques and flavorings, you’d never be able to tell the difference.

  24. Bladefist says:

    beef, like shredded beef? I dont know. I know the steak in their quesodillas is pretty good. I may have 6 forms of cancer from it, but it tastes good. So thats pretty much a push

  25. lostalaska says:

    Hmmmm McGrade E meat… is that why the smell of Taco Bell or McDonalds beef leaves me feeling slightly queezy?

  26. Gann says:

    You get what you pay for. Sometimes you’re paying for diarrhea.

  27. scoli83 says:

    The USDA does not grade on a letter scale. Further, the grade the USDA gives is not based on any health requirements, etc.
    The USDA grades are, in order descending from the highest:
    1. USDA Prime
    2. USDA Choice
    3. USDA Select
    4. USDA Standard
    5. USDA Commercial
    6. USDA Utility
    7. USDA Cutter
    8. USDA Canner

    The grade is simply based on the amount of intramuscle fat and marbling distribution in the meat. The higher the grade, the more intramuscle fat, and the greater the marbling. Both of these affect the amount of flavor the cooked meat will have. Steaks should be USDA Prime or USDA Choice. The meat that Taco Bell uses is probably USAD Commercial. However, this does not mean that the meat is less healthy than better grades, it simply means the meat has less fat and less marbling.

    Taco Bell mixes its meat into a sauce that gives it flavor. What would be the point of using a fattier cut of beef if you are simply going to pour it into sauce?

    As long as Taco Bell uses USDA graded beef, regardless of the grade it receives, I’m happy.

  28. 44 in a Row says:

    As long as Taco Bell uses USDA graded beef, regardless of the grade it receives, I’m happy.

    Just to clarify, you probably mean USDA approved. Most beef that would receive a grade below “select” is never actually graded to begin with; nobody’s ever going to advertise that their beef is “commercial”-grade, so it’s not worth the money to have it graded.

  29. Jottle says:

    It’s definitely Grade D, whatever that means. I actually caught a glimpse of a taco bell employee taking out the trash when the store closed. He had bags of cans that said “Grade D” beef. No brand name no nothing!

  30. Bladefist says:

    The grading scale is a joke. If you don’t know the scale, all top 3 meats sound amazing. Joe Blow sees ‘USDA Select’ at walmart, has a party in his pants, buys it, has no idea there are 2 levels above it. Should make it easier.

  31. tweemo says:

    Higher grade beef just has more fat. That’s what my history teacher said at least, but lost of things he told us were wrong.

  32. thefezman says:

    @redpeppers20xx: I WISH they still sold chili-cheese burritos. When they had the chili nachos they brought the chili-cheese burritos back for about a month, I ate at least a metric ton of them :)

    That was basically the staple of my high-school diet, chili cheese and bean burritos.

  33. scoli83 says:

    @scoli83: The last sentence in my prior post should have read: As Taco Bell uses, USDA INSPECTED beef, regardless of the grade it receives, I’m happy.

  34. GothGirl says:

    Hey you pay for a 69 cent taco what do you want?

  35. tstephen says:

    For what it’s worth – I was employed by Taco Bell and the side of the boxes did state ‘grade D.’ While I understand that there is not a letter grading system, this is what the boxes used to state.

  36. bsalamon says:

    didnt you read fast food nation?

  37. scoli83 says:

    @44 in a Row: Yup, thanks. After writing a paragraph on grading my hands typed “grade” when I meant inspected/approved.

  38. slowinthefastlane says:

    They use grade F “meat” – mostly circus animals and science projects.

  39. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Grade disgusting.

  40. Consumer9 says:

    Send an email:

    Which type of the following does the company use?

    1. USDA Prime
    2. USDA Choice
    3. USDA Select
    4. USDA Standard
    5. USDA Commercial
    6. USDA Utility
    7. USDA Cutter
    8. USDA Canner

    Respond or I will not eat there again.

  41. Corydon says:

    I found this site from Texas A&M where they say one of the measurements the USDA uses is the age of the carcass. That is graded on a letter scale, with Grade D indicating an animal that was 72-96 months old at slaughter, and grade E is greater than 96 months.

    The older the cow, the tougher the meat will be, so it’s no surprise that these animals end up as ground beef.

    Still, it’s nothing to do with the safety of the meat, just how tender it is (and frankly, using Prime beef for ground meat would be a waste).

  42. chartrule says:

    this is the page that lays out the grading of meat

    [www.fsis.usda.gov]

    i don’t see a A B C grading standard there

  43. Corydon says:

    Oops….forgot the link: [meat.tamu.edu]

  44. billy says:

    @Oryx: Do you mean you’re a vegetarian based on some specious information about “Grade D” meat. Why not just eat better quality meat and be done with it instead of making stuff up?

  45. CaliforniaCajun says:

    I worked there in 1986. The grade of beef was FAIL.

  46. CaliforniaCajun says:

    “About 3 weeks ago i called the 800# asking what grade of beef they use. All they could tell me was usda approved.”

    USDA grading means the meat is-at the very least-fit for consumption.

    Given the prices at Taco Bell and a guess at what the meat is graded, what do you think?

  47. tande says:

    Nice letter.

    Will you guys reprint my letter about how Tootsie won’t send me a free Tootsie pop for my star wrapper.

  48. forgottenpassword says:

    “noone wants to know how the hotdogs are made”…. they just want to eat them & enjoy it.

    Ignorance IS bliss!

    Whatever it is I bet its STILL better/safer than authentic tacos you get in mexico.

  49. youbastid says:

    @Consumer9: I find it cute when individuals think that e-mailing a global corporation with a threat to discontinue visiting when they receive, on average, less than $5 per customer is supposed to scare the shit out of them.

  50. spinachdip says:

    @forgottenpassword: “Whatever it is I bet its STILL better/safer than authentic tacos you get in mexico.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that bet. You seen the conditions in American slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants (not to mention the factory farms where the beef is raised)?

  51. forgottenpassword says:

    @spinachdip:

    Let me get this straight…. you are comparing US slaughterhouse conditions to mexican ones? LOL! I’ll take my chances with US slaughterhouse conditions thankyou very much! Because no matter how bad the US ones are…. the mexican ones MUST be worse!

  52. gig says:

    The raw ground beef from which is found to be contaminated with e-coli a/k/a cow shit and can’t be sold as is or you will get sick and possibly die is sent to another processing plant for cooked meat only. That meat is then presumably subjected to high heat to try and kill the bacteria and then it is shipped off to the dog food plant and Taco Bell. And if they screw up, you have an outbreak and recall.

    And what is up with the recording to throw away “bad cheese”. What bad cheese. Were they going to tell anyone about that or only those who call that number get this information. They do sell packaged Taco Bell cheese in the supermarkets. It would be nice if people knew what cheese was bad.

    And USDA inspected means the same as FDA approved. Absolutely nothing. Actually it means that if enough people get sick and die we will investigate … maybe… and issue a recall …maybe.

    I am a bit of an extremist but I have had food poisoning and I will tell you death is welcome. It is like living in hell. No flu or any non chronic illness that you would regularly experience comes close.

  53. Mills says:

    @forgottenpassword: Whatever it is, it’s probably better than what’s used in public school lunches.

    Authentic tacos from Mexico, I don’t know.

  54. spinachdip says:

    [www.snopes.com]
    “In the USA meat is not graded on a scale
    represented by letters, so one would never see crates of meat labeled
    Grade D (or any other letter grade).”

  55. 44 in a Row says:

    As long as the cows have gone to Bovine University, I’m happy.

  56. stinerman says:

    @GothGirl:

    Still the only restaurant where I can get full on $2.

  57. Moosehawk says:

    It’s not beef

    They just put Mexicans into a meat grinder. True story.

  58. celticgina says:

    Wait, you eat at Taco Bell, and now you care about the quality of meat?

    Really?

    Ok……..

  59. el_smurfo says:

    I always thought they just changed the extrusion template and added a different color to the soy based mix to make each ingredient…green for lettuce, orange for cheese, brown for “beef”

  60. roshambo says:

    Here is a link to some info about beef grading and what it means. The prime, select etc. refer to the tenderness and fat content and the letter grades refer to the age of the beef with A being the youngest.

    [en.wikibooks.org]

  61. Milstar says:

    Everyone knows it’s circus animals, but at 2:00am after clubbin who cares.

  62. bohemian says:

    Taco Bell beef isn’t really beef. It is space whale. Tasty, unethically farmed, space whale.

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    [www.imdb.com]

  63. rmz says:

    @el_smurfo: Sounds like we’re set, then, from how amazing I keep hearing soy is supposed to be! By eating at Taco Bell every day, I shall live to be 200.

  64. samurailynn says:

    It sucks that Taco Bell wasn’t very helpful or good at answering phone calls.

    However… who cares what grade beef it is when it’s ground beef? Of course you use the lower grade beef for grinding – that’s because no one will be able to tell whether or not the meat was tender once it’s been completely decimated.

  65. Lambasted says:

    I’ve eaten Taco Bell a few times and back in college it used to be okay, but now I usually get about halfway through and get so disgusted I can’t finish. I can’t put my finger on it but there is something about it that makes me nauseous after a few bites. I would have to be starving with no other options to choke down Taco Bell these days.

  66. spinachdip says:

    @forgottenpassword: Well, the conventional wisdom is that food safety standards in Mexico, all things being equal, are worse than in the US, and it’s my understanding that sanitary and safety standards in US meatpacking plants have improved since Fast Food Nation came out.

    Buuuut, the FDA is overextended and underfunded, and I’m not sure if its oversight has any teeth, and clearly, plenty of tainted meat has left US packing plants. Plus, meat’s nation of origin is simply irrelevant if you factor in the different types of farms and plants. A mega-plant that ships out frozen patties is probably going to have sketchier meat, than say, a butcher who picks his own meats and has a hand grinder.

    Which is to say, comparing meat by countries is kinda stupid.

  67. mcjake says:

    It’s powdered…that’s all that matters.

  68. henwy says:

    I can only assume the OP mistakenly thinks that the grading system is a measure of health safety. Otherwise, I can’t really see anyone going through all this effort just to figure out what the fat/taste content of the ground beef is. You could find out about either of those easier just by looking at the nutritional information or actually taking a bite. It’s not even necessary you swallow. Just chew a few times.

  69. HunterZ says:

    Having worked at Taco Bell for a year not too long ago, I’d be much more concerned about the way the meat is heated than what the quality is.

    The various kinds of meat served at Taco Bell basically come frozen in sealed plastic bags and is submerged for around 30 minutes in a machine that keeps water hot in order to heat the meat (and nacho cheese) to serving temperature (it is then placed in a metal pan on a steam table for use in assembling various menu items). The store I worked at never cleaned out the water machine (they just changed the water once a week), so the inside of the machine was completely coated with a layer of gunk from occasional bags that would get punctured before or while heating in the machine. I was one of the few employees at the store who would immediately throw away entire bags of meat that had become punctured, exposing the meat to the filthy water, as I found it personally disgusting.

    I also wonder if the grade of plastic used for the meat is safe for exposure to hot water, as I’ve read that some aren’t.

  70. laserjobs says:

    Taco Bell beef is mostly made of fat, skin and arteries. Take a close look at the beef next time and you can identify it by the flatness of the pink stuff and the fat is the white chewy stuff.

  71. trk182 says:

    #1 If you’re eating at tacobell in the first place you obviously don’t care all that much about your health

    #2 If tacobell were to answer his question and tell him what grade of beef they use would he even know what the hell they were talking about.

    #3 Dude it’s tacobell who the hell cares.

  72. shakakan says:

    Ground meat is not “graded” like whole muscle cut meat is. So long as it comes from an inspected facility, either USDA or a State Inspected facility, it is permitted for consumption. What is required is the percentage fat/lean ratio. This is at least true on retail ground co-mingled. It may not be required on non-retail co-mingled.

  73. forgottenpassword says:

    they put so little meat inside the taco (under all the lettuce & cheese), that I doubt you could classify a taco bell taco as a meat product!

    Its the “burger fur” you have to watch out for!

  74. Atsumi says:

    A guy I knew used to get sick every time he ate beef at Taco Bell.

    When he asked what it really was, the employee said it was oatmeal.

    This made sense, since he was allergic to oatmeal.

  75. Mike_ says:

    It’s mostly snouts and entrails.

    (Homer: Mmmm, snouts.)

  76. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @Corydon:
    If the age of the cow is what gives it a lower letter grade than the lower the letter grade, the higher the risk of the cow or steer having mad cow disease.
    It’s the oldest cattle that have & spread it, plus that they use mechanical separation to remove all the meat from the bones also means the possibility of spinal tissue in the ground beef.
    It’s in the brain & spinal tissue where the prions that cause mad cow or Creutzfeldt Jakob disease reside.

  77. gig says:

    @spinachdip: … and it’s my understanding that sanitary and safety standards in US meatpacking plants have improved since Fast Food Nation came out.

    I am not so sure about that. There have been 33 million pounds of e-coli tainted meat recalled in 2007. Compare that to 156,235 pounds in 2006. Something is going on that is causing this rise in contaminated meat. You have young children who ate the meat with kidney failure destined for a lifetime of dialysis and certain early death. A 69 cent taco isn’t worth that.

  78. zjgz says:

    Ignorance is bliss, and tastes good

  79. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    @forgottenpassword: If you’d ever actually been to Mexico, and eaten tacos at ANY of the stands in Mexico City, you’d never dream of consuming the ground dog offal that’s sold at Taco Hell.

  80. SomeoneGNU says:

    Side note the web sight says contact us call 1800 TACO BELL when its actually 800 TACO BEL

    So? A lot of places do that – they spell something with their phone number even if it causes an extra digit. It does not affect your ability to call.

    What’s next? Complaining that a mexican pizza isn’t really how they eat pizza in Mexico?

  81. aka Bitter says:

    @HunterZ: I would assume that the plastic is safe. I am old enough to remember heating up chipped beef and Chicken ala King the same way before microwaves were common.

  82. RDAC says:

    I had a friend who worked at taco bell. He said the bags came marked “Grade F, but edible”.

  83. MyPetFly says:

    @Coder4Life:

    Instead of Grade D, don’t you mean “degraded?”

  84. AmericaTheBrave says:

    RDAC:

    “I had a friend who worked at taco bell. He said the bags came marked “Grade F, but edible”

    Nice try but there is no such thing as Grade F beef. Or Grade D, C, B, or A. Either you or your friend made that up.

    [www.snopes.com]

  85. womynist says:

    Someone told me that the meat at Taco Bell is actually about 70% soy. If that’s true, then I feel a bit better…

  86. I have worked at a Taco Bell. Don’t ever eat there.

    Ever.

  87. TPS Reporter says:

    And here I thought my .89 for a taco was buying me the highest quality meat that money can buy…all .89 cents worth.

  88. youbastid says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee (AKA!): Can you elaborate? There have been a few comments so far from people that say they worked there, and never to eat there, but don’t go any further than that.

    Is it really any different than what goes on in the back room of just about every restaurant? Explain.

  89. nerdette314159 says:

    Ugh. I spent a little bit in high school working there.

    NOTHING WAS MARKED GRADE XYZBBQOMFGWTF. It just said “ground beef”. I do remember someone who worked there saying something about a ‘filler’ (oatmeal/soy were frequently spoken of) but no one ever confirmed/denied.

    The steak is real steak, just low grade/quality, but still approved.

    As far as quality goes, everything is pretty fresh/good quality, except the meat was frozen (precooked) in bags (and the meat was heated/recooked in said bags). The water from said boilers were rarely cleaned, and sometimes there would be holes in the bags of meat to be boiled (shipping/handling/opening?) and the gross nasty water would get into the meat.

    I threw out the meat that had been infiltrated by the gross nasty water, and I was yelled at. I never had meat duty again.

    Sorry, didn’t realize I went off on semi-unrelated tangent.

  90. nerdette314159 says:

    This’ll teach me to proof read. Insert sentence about boiling the meat in the bags.

  91. This is ridiculous. “Grades” of beef don’t exist. Beef passes or fails USDA inspection…it doesn’t pass with flying colors, or barely squeak by. USDA testing is for safety, not quality.

    Beef producers can pay extra to have their beef graded for quality (again, not a safety measure).

    Taco Bell meat may be low quality in terms of fat content, and where it comes from in the cow, but by no means is it any less safe than any other beef.

  92. cortana says:

    @Jottle: Nice try, but Taco Bell’s beef doesn’t come in cans. It comes in pre-prepared bags that are ready to heat and add to the steam tables.

  93. adscrub says:

    I believe it is textured vegetable protein or Beef TVP. Not real meat

  94. @InfiniTrent: Here’s a link to back up what I just said. Snopes looked into it.

    [www.snopes.com]

  95. whydidnt says:

    WTF – raise your hand if you thought Taco Bell was selling high quality beef at .69 for a taco. Now those of you that raised your hand, please take the walk of shame. Of course they use the cheapest beef (if you can call it that) they can find. It’s the only way they could sell you that combo meal for $2.99 and still be in business.

    Sheeze, this is news?

  96. crazypants says:

    Taco Bell’s meat is made from locally harvested groundhogs – here is indisputable proof:

    [www.phonelosers.org]

  97. ludwigk says:

    One time in highschool (when I was an avid taco bell eater), we went to Taco Bell after a track meet. I was famished and ordered quite a bit.

    The store was out of hot sauce, and I found that I could barely stomach their food un-slathered in multiple packets of sauce. Apparently, I was just a fan of their sauce, and didn’t have a clue as to what their food ‘tasted’ like. Pretty much stopped eating there after that.

  98. Mr. Gunn says:

    bsalamon: Based on the grammar and spelling in the article, I don’t think they could have read it.

    InfiniTrent: Grades of Beef are here.
    Nice try, though.

  99. @Mr. Gunn: Read your own link – those grades (as I already said) are grades of quality, not of safety.

    The questions always rotate around the safety/fitness for consumption of Taco Bell meat. There’s no danger at all.

  100. katylostherart says:

    they used grade d meat at my old college’s cafeteria. basically dogfood but people approved.

  101. Breach says:

    There is very little meat in these gym mats…

  102. Juggernaut says:

    Welcome to Taco Bell – Now serving “Eight Belles”

  103. @youbastid: Where to begin? This was 1991, so things may have changed. For starters, I’m not surprised about the USDA meat lawsuit. The meat is positively unidentifiable. And the fact that TB refuses to name it’s contents is quite alarming.

    Next, it comes in large plastic bags, just ready to be “cooked”. By cooked, I mean poured into steam/hot water heated chafing dishes. Oftentimes we would find casings or live bugs in the bag. We were told to just pick them out.

    Now lets talk about the tacos… things like the sour cream or cheese (at that time) didn’t need to be refrigerated for some strange reason. Plus, sour cream caulking gun was rarely, if ever, washed. Once empty we would load it up with more Sour Cream. So towards the end could be 4 week old never refrigerated sour cream with the new near the top. You might get an urge to clean the nozzle off with rag. But the only rags we had were table rags. I got written off because I dared to clean out the gun with clean paper towels. My manager was peeved because I didn’t use a dish rag, and my protestation that that rag had been wiping down counters fell on deaf ears.

    I’ve worked in several restaurants, and TB was BY FAR the dirtiest, most unsanitary one of them all.

  104. soapdish says:

    Who cares? It’s DELICIOUS!

  105. nerdette314159 says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee (AKA!):

    Did you ever have guac/sour cream fights? they were the best :-X

  106. @nerdette314159: Ha! That’s when I learned I was allergic to avocados! Or maybe just rancid, unrefrigerated, guacamole.

  107. Decaye says:

    @Isabelle15:

    Guess you didn’t finish logic class. Just because they recalled more tainted meat doesn’t mean there was more tainted meat. It just means they were paying attention more.

    And another thing, ground beef with e-coli isn’t tainted meat. E-coli lives in the intestine, it helps with digestion. If you grind up an entire animal, sometimes intestines are part of “the entire animal”, so the e-coli gets spread throughout. That’s why you’re supposed to cook ground meats to a certain temperature.

    Lastly, who goes looking for the quality of the meat at Taco Bell? Tacos are 79 cents. Figure it out yourself, Sherlock.

  108. pigeonpenelope says:

    @cheviot: thanks for the information

  109. WayneK2 says:

    Grade E? That’s not a “failing grade” like a school report card – it describes only the animal’s age. Grade E beef comes from animals over 8 years old (picture, if you will, that ‘Bossy’ had a long and well-cared-for life). The meat might be very tough served as a steak, but quite adequate as ground beef.

    The beef quality grades are Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. Quality grading is voluntary, not all carcasses are quality graded.

  110. Major-General says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Except that any animal carcass graded as 30 months of age or older must have the backbone removed whole. Thus, no CJD.

  111. Blue387 says:

    Beef at Taco Bell? That’s impossible.

  112. A friend who used to work there once told me it was Grade D, meaning it was mixed with oats as filler. Still perfectly fine for human consumption, just not 100% meat.

    Eh, I love Taco Bell anyway.

  113. dantsea says:

    I love how idiot after idiot here has left uneducated, uninformed comment after people have quoted chapter and verse from the USDA about the grading system. Tards.

  114. jaewon223 says:

    whatever is not allowed for human consumption, then move that bar up one above that and there you go.

  115. iMike says:

    Do yourself and everyone around you and don’t eat that garbage. Problem solved.

  116. GastonPlatypus says:

    Comment on Do You Know What Grade Of Beef Taco Bell Uses? Do They? Does Anyone?

    Used to work at BPI, a supplier to Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell.
    What BPI does is take the scraps from packing plants, and refine the beef
    off of them. They wind up with a product that is 98% lean beef. This
    allows the fast food chain to take lower grade ground beef, 85% or so, and
    add the BPI product to boost it’s flavor and quality. The BPI beef is
    cheap, but it really is great quality.


    Using Opera’s revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/

  117. tape says:

    I wouldn’t write back to someone who wrote me a letter with no grammar, spelling, syntax or common sense either.

  118. XianZomby says:

    I worked at Taco Bell, 1995-1996. The beef came in as a slush in a sealed plastic bag, pre-seasoned. At least the “Taco Bell” brand beef did. We heated the bags in a deep fat fryer that had water in it instead of oil.

    We never “cooked” anything at that resturaunt. Everything was premade or powdered. Beans were dehydrated and reconstituted.

    The only thing fried in he store were the taco salad shells and the cinnimon desert crisps. They did that in the morning and had the frier turned off before we opened for business.

    That place was grease free and clean. You could eat off the floors there. not like “Jack in the Box” where you took your life in your hands eating there.

  119. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    when i worked there in 1994 it was labelled ‘D’ which actually refers to the estimated age of the animal it came from

    [meat.tamu.edu]

    classification D: 72-96 months

  120. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    also, i stopped eating the ground beef there when i was on the ‘steam line’ [hot food prep] and poured out a ‘fresh’ bag of ground beef into the pan and found a nearly intact [but hairless, fortunately] cow’s ear

  121. sprocket79 says:

    I just don’t see the point in wanting to know this information. It’s Taco Bell. You’re not going to find filet mignon on the menu.

  122. synergy says:

    It’s not meat. Why anyone would eat at Taco Hell, I don’t know. I’ve never been that hardup and I’ve known poor. I’d stand in the yucky government cheese line before queueing up at the Taco Hell.

  123. SnoochieBoochies says:

    Some dog foods are actually grade B meat…

  124. ClankBoomSteam says:

    Taco Bell uses beef?

  125. Taco Bell uses beef? I thought it was some genetically mutated soy monster or something. What about the giant rats?

  126. blackmage439 says:

    I should note that Taco Bell is one of the fast food joints I have never became sick from eating at. About a decade ago, I would consistently get sick from eating at Burger King. The same holds true for Wendy’s in recent years. I do not eat at either place.

  127. Mike_Hawk says:

    My brother worked at a Taco Bell for a summer back in high school. The Beef came in bags labeled “Taco Meat”. The word “Beef” did not appear on any part of the packaging.

    Also, you don’t want to know what the “green sauce” is either

  128. Devidence says:

    Side note, it’s spelled web “site” and 800 TACO BELL and 800 TACO BEL are the same damn thing when you dial them.

  129. OnceWasCool says:

    Here is a fact for ya. You can eat almost anything! Even poisons in small amounts. Your body processes protein without concerns of it’s origin. I grew up in a country home. After watching my parents both cook and eat Souse Meat (aka head cheese [en.wikipedia.org] ) I think you can eat anything. I have eaten quiet a long list of animals and animal parts.

  130. Metropolis says:

    This is ridiculous. This jackass is eating at Taco Bell. He obviously doesn’t have that “descerning of a pallet” anyway. Its a 1$ for a 1/2lb. What quality do you really think you are getting for that price.

  131. chrisjames says:

    @oncewascool: An even longer list when you consider that you’re just not told what goes into most meats and foods, processed or not, because it doesn’t matter (unless you need Kosher). People make assumptions that it’s some sort of pure meat, like it’s an element in the periodic table, completely forgetting the fact that a living creature, which is composed of all manner of nasty, was ground up for their tacos. I love it when people get grossed out seeing animals eat raw entrails, and I think, “that was my hamburger yesterday.”

    Confectioners glaze is my favorite, used in candy and medication.

  132. tdarkdz says:

    I always thought USDA used letter grades for Lean Maturity(Color and Texture of meat).

  133. tdarkdz says:

    @tdarkdz: Whoops, for got the important part. Lean Maturity of the Carcass
    [www.ams.usda.gov]

  134. tdarkdz says:

    *forgot

  135. ThunderRoad says:

    Mmmm. Kibbles and Snouts…

  136. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Jottle:

    Taco Bell must have just started getting meat in cans, it used to be big plastic steamer bags.

  137. jeffjohnvol says:

    What a stupid question about the grade of beef for hamburger/taco meat. Research what hamburger is. Its scraps of all grades mixed with a certain percentage of fat.

    Its like asking what grade of meat hot dogs are made of, because pig snout doesn’t have a grade.

  138. jeffjohnvol says:

    @Metropolis: Rep points for you (if this site were to ever allow them). LOL.

  139. VnlaThndr775 says:

    @forgottenpassword: Ive eaten from several roadside taco stands in Mexico with no problems. Fast food places on the other hand… not so lucky. It’s not the quality of the meat, it’s how the meat is handled. Since taco stands in Mexico don’t have the best refrigeration systems, they keep just enough on hand and have a high turnover. I’ll take a taco stand or taco truck over T-Bell any day.

  140. harryhoody says:

    Grade B,C,D,and E meat is all fine to eat. The further down the alphabet the older the cow. In fact, in Spain, the best meat comes from older cows that have worked all of their lives. Unfortunately, cows here are just as lazy as many people eating them. It’s not like Grade E meat is dropped on the slaughter house floor and mixed with bleach or anything…

  141. waggss78 says:

    I actually worked at taco bell for a little while. The beef that they use for most of their items comes in bags and is heated up in hot water. Very clearly marked on every bag was Grade B Beef. It ain’t Grade a but i still loves me some taco bell.

  142. mike19707890 says:

    Taco Bell – “we will no longer be serving tacos, the animal we were using to make it is now extinct”

    Mike – “COW!!?!

    Consumerist – “PIG!!?!”

    Bell – “Noooo think smaller, more legs…”

  143. Zaos says:

    Stick to the stuff they can’t (easily) mess up, dairy and beans =/ or just don’t eat there if you don’t like it. its not like taco bell is the forced diet of the world.

    better than paying $8 on a failing economy for a “healthy” meal.

  144. rmz says:

    It’s amazing to see how many people are so ignorant. Ignorance itself I don’t have a problem with, but self-righteous ignorance rubs me the wrong way.

    As other people have stated, there is no “Grade D.” There are maturity classifications that use the letters A, B, C, D, and E, but they merely refer to the age of the animal. Unless you plan on only eating ground veal for your tacos, you sure as heck don’t want “A” meat. Regarding the actual QUALITY, there has never been any sort of letter-grading system in the United States for the quality of safety of meat, and everything is classified via the well-known Prime/Choice/Select/etc system.

    There is no “Grade D but edible,” and if you repeat that BS to make yourself seem superior for being a vegetarian or for not eating at Taco Bell, you can kindly go suck on a lemon.

  145. randomizer9 says:

    @nerdette314159: “Meat Duty” is just wrong on so many levels…

  146. ivanthemute says:

    One small nitpick. The USDA does use one and only one ‘letter’ grade, and that’s “A”, for “Approved for human consumption” (which is then broken down into Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner.) Anything less is declared unfit for human consumption and does not get graded. Taco Bell, for their steak, uses USDA Grade A Standard in their steak products, Grade A Commercial in their ground beef products. Not the best, but better than McDonald’s (which uses 100% pure ground beef, Utility grade.)

  147. tevetorbes says:

    What the hell is the deal, consumerist?

    HELLO! ITS NOT APRIL FOOLS!

    These prank news stories you keep posting are bullshit:

    Taco Bell doesn’t use Grade D beef because there is no such thing (see http://www.snopes.com)

    And the taser story is also a clever fake from snopes.

    Get on the ball, dudes. You’ve been duped TWICE today.

  148. Afreeman64 says:

    I worked at Pizza Hut in 1997 when Yum Brands was called Tricon (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell). We got a bag of Taco Bell beef off the truck one day to make Taco Pizzas (for ourselves). Stamped on the bag…. Grade D.

  149. Afreeman64 says:

    “Taco Bell doesn’t use Grade D beef because there is no such thing (see http://www.snopes.com)

    And the taser story is also a clever fake from snopes.”

    Snopes is not always right. I saw the Tom Green dressed as hitler episode on mtv the one and only time it aired. Tryed to find it the other day and was directed to an inaccurate snopes entry.

  150. ELC says:

    @SpdRacer:
    Ah, there’s so little meat in most of their stuff, what’s it matter? :)

  151. limiter says:

    I was told by a Taco Bell manager they mix ground oatmeal with the ground beef to bulk it up. I always thought this actually made thier ground beef slightly healthier than most other fast food beef products.

  152. TheNewDecider says:

    I wonder if Sandy Shakleford is Rusty’s little sister….

  153. awolcfh5150 says:

    I’ve heard that they actually use Grade E. A friend of mine owns a slaughterhouse and he knows the different grades inside and out. He said that he can tell it’s below a D. The sad thing, is that’s what they feed our soldiers :(

  154. evilhapposai says:

    Well to tell first there would need to actually be some beef in my taco! Every time I go there I am disappointed with the filling and have to pull out a magnifying glass to see where some trace amounts of meat may or may not have been. Looks NOTHING like the picture and bet there is not even and ounce in them.

  155. soldstatic says:

    i was told grade D by a friend. It’s one grade above dog food apparently, but i think they could even go down one grade and I’d still buy it.

    I love taco bell.

    Its all about fire sauce. poor that fire sauce on and you wont be able to taste anything else.

  156. flipx says:

    Low grade meat is nothing more than eyelids and assholes ground to a tasty mess of whatever can be eaten.

  157. yesteryear says:

    @SomeoneGNU: “What’s next? Complaining that a mexican pizza isn’t really how they eat pizza in Mexico?” beautiful!

    yes… this is like asking what grade of tobacco your cigarettes are made of. it’s pointless.

  158. Scuba Steve says:

    I don’t get why people want to know what the quality of Taco Bell meat is. Or actually, I don’t want to know but I respect someone’s right to know.

    No one seems to get upset at the all white meat chicken nuggets which amount to the company bleaching all the neck and beak parts until its a fine white mush.

    No one should expect Taco Bell meat to be a high grade. Nor any other processed patty for that matter. Either eat it, or don’t.

  159. SayAhh says:

    You call that beef? I’ll stick with the “chicken,” tyvm

  160. asherchang2 says:

    Anyone who reads Snopes knows that this is a retarded question. There is no “grade D” meat, there is only USDA approval, and then an optional grading if the manufacturer wants.

  161. Bobg says:

    You should watch the movie “Fast Food Nation.” You’ll swear off of meat for good.

  162. Rusted says:

    Soylent Red? Anyone still eating at Taco Bell is on their own.

  163. adscrub says:

    taco flavored textured vegetable protein

  164. Smd75 says:

    “All they could tell me was USDA approved.”

    I was at a petstore and one selling point was the dog was USDA approved, I looked at the puppy and informed him he has been certified as edible by the government.

    I feel like USDA approved doesnt really mean all that much.

  165. The_Legend says:

    @B:

    I was wondering whatever happened to the dog on their commercials.

  166. The_Legend says:

    Do you think they care what kind of sludge they feed the stoners that roll thru at 2am?

  167. JoeTan says:

    I like the responses that are Simpsons quotes and people taking them seriously.

    And then there’s I KNOW THIS GUY THAT WORKED THERE IN 87 like he’s the go to know it all.

  168. temporaryerror says:

    @Lambasted: When I was a freshman, there was a Taco Bell on the first floor of my dorm, and they accepted the student meal plans! I had very irregular bathroom habits for about a semester. (They did away with the Bell my 2nd year in favor of healthier alternatives)

  169. tranque says:

    They use cutter beef. It’s what’s left over after they get done cutting steaks and prime cuts. It’s the second to the lowest grade of beef–just above canner. No tendons or organ meats or anything, but plenty of fat. Mostly fat, actually. It has either no flavor or a nasty flavor, so they have to season the heck out of it in order to make it edible. The reason Taco Bell won’t say what “grade” it is is because it’s not graded. The USDA doesn’t “grade” meat except by special request. All they do is inspect the facility where it’s processed to make sure everything is clean and up to code. Here are the details, via Snopes:

    [www.snopes.com]

  170. mrchemist says:

    Taco Bell uses a mix of varous extenders and fillers and a poor grade of beef. It is probably a formulation that is used throughout the entire fast-food industry. Don’t you think it is the case that McDonald’s, Burger King, White Castle, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell all use the same mix? So, what is the typical ratio of extenders/fillers to beef? Why can’t we be told? Everybody knows that the beef is adulterated. What we are being told is that the beef is 100% beef. Unfortunately, beef is not the only thing that is present.