MONTGOMERY, Alabama – In 1984, Wendy’s fastfood restaurant aired a commercial that became a iconic catchphrase, “Where’s the beef?” In the commercial, 3 white-haired elderly women examine a competitor’s hamburger, with it’s big fluffy bun and teeny tiny hamburger, to which one of them exclaims, “Where’s the beef?”
That phrase is ringing true again, this time around for Taco Bell. Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. has filed a consumer rights class action lawsuit against Taco Bell Corporation challenging 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 US 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.”
“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,” explained Beasley Allen 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 said.