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Taco Bell Lawsuit Alleges False Advertising; Is Meat All Beef

Posted January 27, 2011, 10:22 AM HST Updated January 29, 2011, 02:09 AM HST
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By Sonia Isotov

With three Taco Bell locations on Maui, customers may be interested to know that an Alabama law firm has filed a consumer rights class action lawsuit against the Taco Bell Corporation.

The lawsuit challenges Taco Bell’s practice of representing to consumers that its restaurants serve “seasoned ground beef” or “seasoned beef” filling in its products, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef. The lawsuit seeks to require Taco Bell to properly advertise and label food items, and to engage in a corrective advertising campaign to educate the public about the true content of its food products.

According to standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the meat filling in Taco Bell’s products does not meet the minimum standard requirement to be labeled and advertised as “beef,” seasoned or otherwise. The substantial majority of the filling is comprised of substances other than beef, and is required to be labeled and advertised as “taco meat filing.” Taco meat filling includes ingredients added to increase the volume of the product, such as binders and extenders like “isolated oat product.”

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“Our government, through the USDA and FDA, provides definitions, standards and labeling guidelines for ‘ground beef.’ What Taco Bell is representing on their restaurant menu as ‘ground beef’ does not meet any of those definitions, standards and labeling guidelines,” explains Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C attorney Dee Miles.

“This product does not qualify to be considered ‘ground beef’ and many of the ‘seasoning’ ingredients are in fact binders, fillers and coloring. These ingredients increase the overall volume of this product, reducing the actual ‘beef’ content per serving. It is against the law in this country to take someone’s money for a product that is misrepresented. This lawsuit seeks to put a stop to that type of conduct and practice,” he says.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court Central District of California Southern Division (8:11-cv-00101-DOC-FFM) by Beasley Allen attorneys W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, and William E. Hopkins, Jr., along with the San Diego law firm of Blood Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP, lawyers Timothy G. Blood, Leslie E. Hurst and Thomas J. O’Reardon, II. Plaintiffs in the case are Amanda Obney, on behalf of herself, all others similarly situated, and the general public.

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