January 28, 2011
Taco Bell Refutes Filler Meat Claims
Taco Bell President Greg Creed spoke out on Thursday against a California woman's class action lawsuit over his company's taco meat filling, calling the suit "bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts," ABC News reported.
"There is no basis in fact or reality for this suit, and we will vigorously defend the quality of our products from frivolous and misleading claims such as this," wrote Creed in a statement about the suit.
The lawsuit was filed on January 19 by the California law firms Blood, Hurst & O'Reardon and Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles on behalf of Amanda Obney. The suit alleges that Taco Bell's beef filling is 65 percent binders, extenders, preservatives, additives and other agents, and seeks to prevent the fast food chain from calling the filling "beef".
However, Creed strongly disputes the claim.
"Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88 percent quality USDA-inspected beef and 12 percent seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture," he said.
"The lawyers got their facts wrong. We take this attack on our quality very seriously and plan to take legal action against them for making false statements about our products."
Creed said Taco Bell uses a proprietary recipe that adds flavor and texture to its seasoned beef, "just like you would with any recipe you cook at home."
The final product contains 3 to 5 percent water for moisture, 3 to 5 percent spices, and 3 to 5 percent oats, starch, sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients you'd find at home or in the supermarket, he said.
"Our seasoned beef contains no 'extenders' to add volume, as some might use."
Obney's lawsuit has generated considerable media attention, something Creed said his company takes seriously.
"We take this attack on our quality very seriously and plan to take legal action against them for making false statements about our products," Creed said.
However, the law firm that filed the suit maintains its position that Taco Bell is misrepresenting its product.
"We are disappointed that Taco Bell chooses to repeat its false statements rather than simply tell the truth," ABC news cited Timothy Blood, a lawyer with Blood, Hurst &
O'Reardon LLP, as saying.
"Food additives such as isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agents, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate are neither beef nor spices."
Blood said the law firm has received numerous e-mails and calls since filing the suit from Taco Bell customers who reported suffering "severe allergic reactions from eating the food additives in Taco Bell's beef-flavored food products."
"We urge Taco Bell to be at least as interested in the well-being of its customers as it is in marketing, public relations and profit," Blood said.
A full list of Taco Bell's ingredients can be viewed at the company's Web site.