Taco Bell has been hit with a lawsuit which claims that what the company describes as "ground beef" does not meet the USDA's definition.
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."The company has responded to the suit with a carefully-worded non-denial: "Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value." Some commenters on the above-linked Consumerist article note that taco filling is traditionally full of "extenders" and that what Taco Bell serves is not unusual.