It was a big buzz earlier this week – Taco Bell meet doesn’t meet the (very lax) Federal standards of ‘beef’ being 40% beef! It was reported pretty uncritically, but it looks like some new information has come up – Taco Bell is pushing back and claiming they use 88% beef here. The second response is quite strong, but assuming it is true I can’t believe this was all they came up with the first time:
‘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.’
Note how they don’t say, y’know, much of anything in the above. This statement could be completely true without negating the lawsuit at all – it just seems to rewrite the situation as ‘seasoning and spices’ that provide a ‘signature Taco Bell taste and texture’. This is pretty pathetic, if it was accidental. It is also pretty sad that it took them a whole day to figure out the above was not cutting it.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens, assuming that the media doesn’t lose interest and we ever hear. My knee-jerk response is to oppose strict labelling laws as something nosy governments do, but things like this make me really wonder about the issue. Is it ethical for a fast food restaurant to slap together 1500 calorie value meals, for instance? Sure, it keeps the cost the low, but at some place it really does seem like a health risk. Especially when the ‘healthy’ meals cost more than the regular, e.g. at Red Robin where a cheeseburger has less calories than the chicken wraps…