Consumer discovers Taco Bell not as bad for you as expected; sues

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 21:37 EDT
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File under one more reason this country has brought its troubles on itself—a California woman is suing Taco Bell because she says their beef doesn’t have enough beef in it.

[The lawsuit] says Taco Bell’s ground beef is made of such components as water, isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate, as well as some beef and seasonings.

Wheat oats? Soy lecithin? Oat product?! It seems that if you eat these tacos, especially if some cornmeal sneaks in through the tortilla, you run an alarming chance of having a bowel movement within a month from the scary amounts of fiber your body has absorbed through these poisonous plant products. No wonder she’s so upset. Taco Bell’s products are not destroying the environment fast enough. There’s 70% more room there to create more demand for cheap beef that could help usher in global warming while reducing clean water supplies and arable land available for farming direct to consumer vegetables. And where does this all end? Will fast food joints starting putting actual green vegetables in their food? Horrors.

I’m sorry that America learned today that you learned you actually like the taste of soy products. I know how traumatic that can be. I’ve seen small children, greedily eating a food they claimed to dislike but that has been served to them in disguise, only to be told what it was, which required spitting it out and saying, “Gross!” We, as a nation, are this small child, or at least that’s how it seems from the breathless coverage this scandal has been given in the news. We can’t see ourselves as people who eat soy. It’s gross. No matter how much we like it.

I’m not actually even defending Taco Bell’s alleged ingredients, many of which break the basic rules about telling “food” from “non-food” laid out by the likes of Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and Marion Nestle. But the issue that’s driving this is that there isn’t enough beef in the tacos, and no so much that there are all these non-food chemicals in them that are used ostensibly to make the food more appealing. The only real surprise is literally that the tacos don’t come with as much beef and its accompanying saturated fat as assumed. The betrayal runs deep; apparently we hope to be clogging our arteries with haste when we eat there. I’m not sure there’s any way to see this other than as another sign of the decline of a once-great nation.

Plus, it’s not like you can’t add cheese if you’re falling a little short of your saturated fat goals for the day.

What’s fascinating is that in all the alarm over this, there has basically been no discussion over the fact that places like Taco Bell have this disgusting, bad-for-you food, and then they price it so low that it becomes extra appealing, particularly to people who don’t have the privilege of living in a place with better access to healthy food. And that, in turn, contributes to our massive health problems that are killing people and driving up health care costs. Instead, everyone’s just going to be appalled for a day that it’s got a little more vegetable matter than they initially supposed.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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