Taco Bell

Taco Bell's New Ingredient Explainer Gets Big Attention

Changes to Taco Bell's website explaining the ingredients in its taco meat is a trending topic, but where did the attention come from?

By Cliff Judy | April 30, 2014

Prepare yourself for shots of cheap fast food being unwrapped. A few media outlets started the week noting at some point, Taco Bell updated the section of its website where it reassures customers of what they're eating.

JILL WAGNER, CBS: "Some of the ingredients are simple, like oats or cocoa powder, while others are seriously hard to pronounce, but Taco Bell swears they're all safe and approved by the FDA."

For those of you who perhaps thought the Taco Bell meat ingredients story was finished, the headlines appear to have started back up Monday noting some changes to the restaurant's website. (Via Business Insider)

If you don't remember, an Alabama law firm filed suit against Taco Bell's owners in 2011 claiming the chain's taco meat was only 35 percent beef. If proven true, that wouldn't have met the USDA's minimum standards for labeling a product as "beef."

Taco Bell vehemently denied those claims, saying the meat was 88 percent beef, and the lawsuit was dropped only two months later — much to the CEO's bragging delight. (Via Fox News)

GREG CREED, TACO BELL CEO: "We've made no changes to our products or ingredients, no changes to our advertising, no money was exchanged and there was definitely no settlement agreement. Plain and simple, their attorneys got it wrong."

And now the subtle changes to Taco Bell's website describing in pretty simplistic terms what's contained in the other 12 percent of the taco meat.

We say subtle because that page has been up with much of the same content for years now, as seen in this April 2011 story from CNN.

This latest version answers questions like, "Why is the chain using certain ingredients?" For instance, "Why Trehalose?" Taco Bell's answer: "It's a naturally occurring sugar that we use to improve the taste of our seasoned beef."

Which is correct, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH says it's natural and safe for consumer products as long as it's manufactured properly.

Now, why this is a story is harder to say. It's certainly got the public's attention. "Good Morning America" noted it was the highest trending story on ABC's website Wednesday morning.

But not a single story Newsy searched out listed when Taco Bell updated its site nor how the outlets realized something had been changed — whether someone tipped them off or they simply noticed it.

But bottom line when it comes to the ingredients? A writer for Popular Science noted these products are engineered, not grown.

 

"That leads to you (and me) binging on stuff that should be infrequent treats. It's just that the ingredients in them are not scary poison that the average person will never understand."

Duke chemist and blogger Dr. Derek Lowe told ABC"There's nothing on this list I have a problem eating."

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