Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where's the beef? Not at Taco Bell.

Well, it all depends on how much beef is considered "beef". I mean what is "beef" per say? Taco Bell doesn't want to get too technical but one former Taco Bell manager does.

A law firm is claiming that the fast food chain is using false advertising when it says its Mexican delicacies are filled with "ground beef" or "seasoned ground beef."

Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles filed a class action suit on Friday, on behalf of a California woman, Amanda Obney, former Taco Bell manager, in the U.S. District Court of California, Central District.

In fact, the lawsuit claims, the "taco meat filling" used by Taco Bell contains is only about 35% beef, with binders, extenders, preservatives, additives and other agents making up the other 65%. Obeny doesn't want to get paid, she just wants the court to order Taco Bell to be honest with customers about what is in its tacos, chalupas and other dishes.

"There is a 40 percent requirement that the product be beef or flesh from the cow in order for it to be called taco meat filling. However, under our analysis of the product, the Taco Bell product, at least the beef products, we're not even reaching the 40 percent. It's about 35 percent.," the law firm said.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture's website, "ground beef" or "chopped beef" consists of chopped fresh or frozen beef with or without seasoning, should not contain more than 30% fat and should not contain water, phosphates, binders or extenders. The labeling of meat food products must comply with the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the meat inspection regulations and labeling policies.

For example, Beefy Crunch Burrito contains water, sodium phosphates, soy lecithin, modified corn starch, and anti-caking and anti-dusting agents, among others ingredients. All of that sounds gross and nasty.  

Taco Bell president and chief concept officer Greg Creed said in a statement that the company uses 100% USDA-inspected beef and simmers it in a blend of seasonings to give it the "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," the statement said.   "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."

I can't believe that someone would pay attorney's fees and costs to sue just to make a point, I'm not sure what the damages are in this case but I would bet that she is requesting SOME kind of money.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I've been trying to find the background of Obeny for a public policy paper I'm working on. You' wouldn't believe the amount of hoopla out there. Keep rockin the law books mama!