February 15, 2011

Where's the Beef? Taco Bell Uses only 36% Beef

Hopefully if you are reading Really Natural, you do not frequent fast food restaurants. Not only is the quality of the food poor and caloric intake high, there are often issues of mislabeling or misleading consumers. Take for example Taco Bell.

"Where's the beef?" may have been the motto of the Wendy's fast food chain many years ago; however, it is applicable today for Taco Bell not because of small quantities, but because of actual beef content. In fact, a lawsuit has been filed about their "meat filling". The Consumerist reports:

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!

As the USDA definition in the lawsuit says, to be called "ground beef," the product 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."

Dr. Mercola further explains why it isn't even food, let alone beef:

Taco Bell is known for its inexpensive Mexican food available at all hours of the night -- not their dedication to serving healthy food. Still, passing off "taco meat filling" that contains only 36 percent actual meat as "beef" is pretty low, even for Taco Bell....

There are major incentives to center your diet on real foods as opposed to "food products" like the ones sold at Taco Bell and other fast-food outlets, the primary one being it is essential for optimal health. Real foods also taste delicious, and when bought from sustainable sources help to protect the environment. It's actually very easy to tell the difference. Real food almost always has the following characteristics:

  • Grown
  • Variable quality
  • Spoils fast
  • Requires preparation
  • Vibrant colors, rich textures
  • Authentically flavorful
  • Strong connection to land and culture
"Food products," meanwhile, tend to have these traits:

Produced, manufactured

  • Neat, convenient

  • Always the same

  • Keeps forever

  • Instant results

  • Dull, bland

  • Artificially flavorful

  • No connection to land or culture

Gizmodo posted a photo of what appears to be the label from a package of Taco Bell's taco meat filling, and you can see very clearly that it meets the definition for a food product, not a real food.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by compujeramey

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at February 15, 2011 1:17 AM

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