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U.S. law firm sues Taco Bell, claims 'beef' label misleading

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Before you bite into that beef taco, you might want to clarify the definition of "beef."

An Alabama law firm Beasley Allen has filed a class action lawsuit against Taco Bell, claiming the restaurant chain misleads its customers about what's actually in its tacos.

According to Alabama's WSFA 12 News, the lawsuit alleges Taco Bell's beef doesn't meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's definition of the word, claiming it contains only 36 per cent meat.

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The rest, it claims, is made up of wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch, sodium phosphates, and other non-meat "extenders."

In a prepared statement issued to the news station, the company responded by saying: "Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value.... We deny our advertising is misleading in any way and we intend to vigorously defend the suit."

By USDA definition, "beef" is the "flesh of cattle." Duh, you might think. But the rules are more complicated when it comes to labelling "ground beef" and "taco filling."

The USDA requires "taco filling" to contain only a minimum of 40 per cent fresh meat, WSFA reports.

Something to chew on, indeed.

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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