An Alabama law firm last week hit Taco Bell with a class-action lawsuit claiming the company misleadingly calls its taco filling "ground beef." Now Taco Bell has hit back, hard. The fast-food chain launched a PR offensive that includes a cartoon, threats of a counter-suit, and ads in major newspapers "thanking" the law firm for giving Taco Bell a chance to tout "the truth about our seasoned ground beef" — the chain claims its filling is 88 percent beef, not 35 percent, as alleged. Does Taco Bell's response undermine the fake-beef suit?
We deserve to know what we are eating: Taco Bell could be right that its labeling of "anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch, sodium phosphate, and silicon dioxide" as beef is legal, says Josh Moon in the Montgomery Advertiser. But that's not very reassuring. We have no idea what those ingredients are, or if they're safe. "If nothing else, the Taco Bell lawsuit should teach us" to be wary of FDA guidelines that allow "beef filling" to be only 40 percent cow product.
"Is FDA's 40 percent enough to feel safe?"
Taco Bell's being scapegoated: "Controversies over processed meats" are nothing new, and "it's not necessarily fair to single out Taco Bell over its ingredients," says Bruce Kennedy in DailyFinance. Most fast-food meats "contain processed proteins from grains like soy, wheat, and rice," but that's no reason to get upset. The grains "reduce fat content," and they make fast food taste the same everywhere. Taco Bell has surely spent millions to find the combo taco-lovers crave.
"The Taco Bell beef suit: Not all processed foods are evil"
Taco Bell's missing "the big picture": That 88 percent vs. 35 percent debate is "pretty irrelevant," says Jeff Reeves at InvestorPlace. The real problem is that Taco Bell, the "cheap eats" chain, is ignoring a trend towards higher-quality ingredients that's sweeping the fast-food industry — and letting its rivals charge more and attract a wider variety of customers. "Frivolous or not," the lawsuit should be a "wake-up call" to Taco Bell that "99 cent burritos" don't pay off in the long run.
"Even if Taco Bell has real beef, it doesn't have quality"
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