Taco Bell is facing a class-action lawsuit that charges the fast food chain wrongly advertises that its products contain "beef." The suit claims Taco Bell uses too little beef and too many fillers, binders and extenders in the meat mixture they use in their tacos and burritos, and that the mixture fails to meet the requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be called "beef." Taco Bell denied the accusation and in response is running full-page print ads in big newspapers like USAToday, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and online in which the chain's president says "Plain ground beef tastes boring."
The ads say their "seasoned beef" consists of "88% Beef and 12% Secret Recipe," and then discloses some ingredients in their "secret recipe," dismissing the rest as "other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency and quality of our seasoned beef." Taco Bell's online ingredients summary lists some of the "other" ingredients: oats, sugar, soybean oil (an "anti-dusting agent"), maltodextrin, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide, citric acid and sodium phosphates. Taco Bell refuses to say how much it is spending on the media campaign to counteract the lawsuit, but full page ads in major newspapers can cost more than $100,000 apiece.