Thoughts on the Taco Bell Beef Controversy

Much is being made of the Taco Bell beef controversy, but it seems that everybody’s missing the key point that Taco Bell (as far as I know or can recall) has never claimed that the “taco meat filling” is ground beef in advertising or otherwise.

To backtrack a bit, there’s an Alabama law firm that’s suing Taco Bell for claiming that its ground beef filling doesn’t meet the USDA definitions of ground beef, therefore making them guilty of false advertising. But then in the same lawsuit, the claim is made that the filling contains only 36% beef, with the rest being filler. But the important thing is that acknowledge there’s beef in it.

The lawsuit claims false advertising, but like I said above, the key point is that you have to prove that Taco Bell claimed the meat mixture was ground beef. Sure, they imply it, but at no point in any Taco Bell commercial that I’ve ever seen have they pointed specifically to the “meat” area and declared “This is beef”. They simply refer to is as a beef taco, or a taco that contains ground beef, and it does. It contains much less beef than you might think, but they never actually falsely advertise anything.

Yes, they call it a beef taco, but there is beef in it, as the lawsuit itself states. Honestly, from a legal perspective you can put one little crumble of beef in a bucket of lettuce and call it a beef salad if you wanted. Using the same logic as this lawsuit, you could sue Taco Bell claiming that because there is lettuce on the taco, it’s not a beef taco. There’s also tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream on it too, but they aren’t beef, nor do they meet the USDA definition of ground beef. In other words, it makes no sense.

So in conclusion, unless Taco Bell at some point specifically identified the “taco meat filling” and referred to it as being ground beef (not containing, but being), then they never committed false advertising. There is no basis for a lawsuit. You might not like the beef to everything else ratio, but they never claimed a certain ratio.