Earlier this week, the news broke that Taco Bell had been sued over allegations that — according to the USDA — the ground beef advertised in its tacos isn’t ground beef but “meat filling” that contains a bunch of binders and extenders. Yesterday, Greg Creed, the curiously Australian president of the Bell issued a statement on the company’s site.
Wrote Mr. 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.
As we previously reported, the lawsuit alleges that the beef filling at Taco Bell doesn’t fit the USDA definition of “ground beef,” which must “consist of 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 suit says that the inclusion of things like wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate in the beef means that Taco Bell is misleading customers into believing they are buying ground beef.
A rep for the plaintiff in the lawsuit was not deterred by Creed’s statement. “We’re going to move forward,” the rep told the L.A. Times. “And I believe we’re going to be successful.”