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Law Firm Sues Taco Bell Over Lack Of Beef In "Beef"

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the there's-very-little-meat-in-these-gym-mats dept.

The Courts 23

The USDA demands that something labeled "ground beef" contain at least 70% beef, and if you're going to call something "taco filling," it must contain "at least 40 percent fresh meat." The Beasley Allen law firm claims that Taco Bell doesn't follow these guidelines, and has filed a class action suit against the restaurant chain. According to the firm, what Taco Bell is marketing as beef only contains 36% meat. Sadly, the firm made no comment on the actual composition of Nachos Bellgrande.

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Ewww ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34984762)

"Rather than beef, these food items are actually made with a substance known as "taco meat filling," according to the lawsuit."

Is this like the mythical "100% all beef product" that Microsoft makes their hamburgers from.

What, exactly, is "taco meat filling"? 36% actual meat is kinda gross sounding.

Apple is better for you (1)

Wolvey (918106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986226)

That's why I stay away from Microsoft hamburgers and only eat Apple meat.

Re:Apple is better for you (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986788)

Hey, an Apple a day... but try to get the old multi-colored Apples, they're full of phytochemicals. The bleached and bromated modern Apple has little taste.

Re:Apple is better for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990674)

What pat of the mans body is that apple meat that you're eating on?

Re:Ewww ... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986608)

I think you got the wrong evil soulless corporation there. Nice try though.

Re:Ewww ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988382)

I think you got the wrong evil soulless corporation there. Nice try though.

LOL ... wow, did I ever ... that was completely unintentional, my fingers just typed that on their own apparently.

I did, of course, mean McDonald's. :-P

Still, my point stands ... only 36% "meat"? The mind reels.

Re:Ewww ... (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988708)

Why don't people want to believe that McDonald's burgers are all beef?

Ground beef isn't that expensive.

Especially when you use so much you could buy it on the futures market...

Re:Ewww ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989188)

Why don't people want to believe that McDonald's burgers are all beef?

Partly cynicism, but partly because McDonald's meat has been so heavily mangled, it just doesn't seem like meat.

And, once you've found articles like this [usda.gov] which gives us the definition:

The definition of "meat" was amended in December 1994 to include any "meat" product that is produced by advanced meat/bone separation machinery. This meat is comparable in appearance, texture, and composition to meat trimmings and similar meat products derived by hand. This machinery separates meat from bone by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone without breaking or grinding the bone. Product produced by advanced meat recovery (AMR) machinery can be labeled using terms associated with hand-deboned product (e.g., "pork trimmings" and "ground pork").

The AMR machinery cannot grind, crush, or pulverize bones to remove edible meat tissue, and bones must emerge essentially intact. The meat produced in this manner can contain no more than 150 milligrams (mg) of calcium per 100 grams product (within a tolerance of 30 mg. of calcium). Products that exceed the calcium content limit must be labeled "mechanically separated pork" in the ingredients statement.

As served, McDonald's isn't anywhere near what you'd like to think is ground beef ... it's a slurry of whatever meat they can get off the bones without crushing them; ground up in a paste, spiced, probably has some filler and binders added, and then smooshed back together as a "beef patty", frozen, and then fried. It's nothing like a burger you'd make yourself if you bought ground round/ground chuck from your grocery store.

I believe it's "beef" as defined by a statute someplace, but I don't believe it's been in the sense that a butcher would give it to me -- which is to take a slab of flesh and run it through a grinder, and give me back only the flesh that went in.

This is essentially what is at play here with Taco Bell -- by the time you are being served that, by some definitions, they can't really even call it a "meat" taco -- it's a mechanically processed slurry which started out with cow pieces, but is mostly non-cow components. But, really, only on third of the "hamburger" filling in your taco was ever actually "meat".

Re:Ewww ... (1)

Keen Anthony (762006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991360)

Gut feeling, no pun intended, but I'm fairly certain that McDonald's meat isn't as bad as you suggest for two reasons: USDA laws regarding meat processing and the iconic status McDonald's has. To the vegetable lasagna crowd and the anti-corp crowd, McDonald's is the big Satan. The company has a lot of watchdogs actively looking to expose something like this. Taco Bell apparently fell under the radar for a while.

I'm not saying you're wrong though. Just that, I feel very safe eating at McDonald's vs Taco Bell. Let's argue it out over a Chic-Fil-A.

Re:Ewww ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993356)

To the vegetable lasagna crowd and the anti-corp crowd, McDonald's is the big Satan. The company has a lot of watchdogs actively looking to expose something like this. Taco Bell apparently fell under the radar for a while.

Actually, I'm inclined to agree with you on this and for the same reasons.

As much as I am part of the vegetable lasagna crowd, McD's is heavily scrutinized and if they were doing too much ickyness with their meat, it would have been widely trumpeted by now.

Let's argue it out over a Chic-Fil-A.

Wow, I had to look this one up ... never heard of it. A fast food chain promoting Christian values [wikipedia.org] , how quaint.

Re:Ewww ... (1)

Keen Anthony (762006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35002450)

Hmm, I didn't know that Chic-Fil-A espoused Christian values when I suggested it. That might explain why my neighborhood franchise never seems to be open on sundays in a busy marketplace. I just was suggesting a delicious chicken filet sandwich that will do horrible things to your stomach afterwards.

Re:Ewww ... (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34998322)

As served, McDonald's isn't anywhere near what you'd like to think is ground beef ... it's a slurry of whatever meat they can get off the bones without crushing them; ground up in a paste, spiced, probably has some filler and binders added, and then smooshed back together as a "beef patty", frozen, and then fried.

As they say, citation needed?

Re:Ewww ... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990856)

Why don't people want to believe that McDonald's burgers are all beef?

I think it is because they do not taste like beef. Believe me, I love a good burger, but McDonalds does NOT make a good burger.

Re:Ewww ... (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35002748)

Have you eve had a plain, fresh double cheeseburger?

Can be very good.

Prompting the question... (1)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34984786)

What's the other 64%? Sawdust?

Re:Prompting the question... (1)

Dreth (1885712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34984954)

The suit claims that Taco Bell's meat-like offering is filled with extenders and other non-meat substances listed in the lawsuit like water, "Isolated Oat Product," wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate as well as beef and seasonings. Yum!"

Re:Prompting the question... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987858)

Soylent Green is people.

How Timely (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989968)

I've been reading Fast Food Nation and just finished the french fry chapter. (Potatoes are shot out of a cannon at a wire screen to make fries.) This morning I started the beef chapter, and then on the drive to work listened to the Morning Jocks [955klos.com] rave about the result of asking for "extra meat" when ordering food at Taco Bell.

Now I know why every time I eat at Taco Bell, I regret it the next morning. It's really disgusting what it does to my bowels... I refuse to eat there anymore, especially in So California where there are so many great places to get real Mexican food that doesn't turn your morning poop into something worthy of a hazmat response. I spent 10 days in Mexico last month, eating local food. It all tasted great, and none of it did to me what Taco Bell does to me. Yet, when I got home to Los Angeles, and started eating processed USian foods again, I had the runs for a week. (Which is why I cracked open the copy of Fast Food Nation that had sat unread on my shelf for two years.)

Really, read that book. It's fascinating and not really judgmental like Super Size Me was.

Used to like Taco Bell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991454)

Worked at Taco bell for three years, way back around 1990. I remember cooking the meat then, and we would put in this spice/oat mixture, but it was only like 5 cups worth into like 20 Pounds of fresh hamburger. I also remember the food tasting good, too. It was aroung this time the first 'pre-fried' taco shells came in. At first, it was strictly voluntary...then they became the only taco shell served. Now everything comes in a bag. We used to get the cheese in a big block the size of 4 stacked shoeboxes. Now everything comaes in a bag, presliced/fried/cooked/etc... Does anyone remember when the meat and beans in a burrito actually had different texture from each other?

Very relevant! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34995628)

This is entirely relevant, if you're still thirteen years old and you pay for your meals using the change found in the family sofa cushions. The rest of us prefer food that contains food. And flavor.

Percentages (1)

giantism_strikes (1887188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34997612)

It may be only 36% meat, but it is 100% delicious.

Re:Percentages (1)

Blessed_by_the_Cow (1983292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34999106)

I agree completely. But what worries me (barely) is what they're not classifying as 'meat'.

YUM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35004702)

A ratburrito a day keeps you barfing away!

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