The Real Taco Bell Scandal

Cow living in confinement

There’s been a huge buzz about Taco Bell’s “beef” and how little there actually is in their tacos. The problem no one seems to be talking about, and what I think the real issue is with Taco Bell and almost all fast food meat, is where that meat comes from.

Rachel touched on this problem in her piece on the Taco Bell lawsuit when she said:

Mmmm nothing makes tortured, disease-laden industrial beef taste better than a good old heaping of maltodextrin and autolyzed yeast extract, wouldn’t you say?

It’s the “industrial beef” that’s the real problem with food like Taco Bell. How did those cows live before they wound up in your 59 cent burrito? Most likely, they lived in a confined space with little to no access to pasture. They breathed the fumes from their own waste, unable to turn around in the tiny spaces.

And that’s if they’re lucky. Many animals in factory farming situations live with frequent abuse on top of these living conditions.

Here’s a video that gives a glimpse into those cows’ lives before they become a Beefy Crunch Burrito or chicken soft taco:

What We Can Do

Of course, the choice I wish more folks would make is to skip the animal products all together, but I also understand that veganism isn’t for everyone.

If you’re not ready to go vegetarian or vegan, you can still make a difference! Can’t face life without meat? You can choose grass fed, free range, and organic animal products. The tricky thing is that labels can be misleading. If meat eaters really want to be responsible, it means looking beyond the label. Industrial meat sometimes masquerades as more humane, thanks to vague labeling standards.

So what do you guys think? Is the problem with Taco Bell that their tacos are 25% beef or how those animals lived before making their way onto the extra value menu? Or is it a little bit of both?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Farm Sanctuary

  1. Kenna

    I’m so tired of people trying to sue fast food restaurants. When I order from a McDonalds or Taco Bell, I expect the food to be unhealthy and to not have 100% natural ingredients. That’s why they call it fast food. No one is forcing me to buy my meals from their establishment. It’s my choice – just like it is anybody else’s.

    1. Becky Striepe

      I think that’s a fair point. It’s no secret that fast food is crap. It’s a bummer that it takes a lawsuit like this to get folks talking and thinking about it, rather than filing it away as a given,.

  2. Nicole Navratil

    Thank you for posting this. It seems we’ll keep going round and round with this until people refuse to eat this kind of food anymore, which can only come after continuously exposing how these large companies treat animals, and educating the public about it. This will come with time, I believe.

  3. Cynthia

    Thanks, Karen for the link to the comments by Michelle Obama. I do agree that it is important to get the information out to more Americans, so that there is informed consent. If nothing else comes out of the lawsuit, maybe people will look more closely at the issues in our food supply. And don’t get me started on Palin ~ what a clown.

    And Becky, I think it is a little of both. I have cut out so much red meat in my diet, eating more chicken/turkey and fish, given the issues with ‘mad cow’. I know that there are issues with poultry too, but the idea of pieces parts of contaminated beef getting mixed into the ground ‘beef’ is just nasty.

    This article is making me reconsider eating fast ‘food’ at all. The few times I do eat beef, it is steak and prepared at home. My beloved gyro at Manuel’s once a month at Moth UP will probably have to go too.

    1. Becky Striepe

      I’m glad to hear you’re thinking about where your meat comes from! I know that cutting out animal products is tough, and I think that eating less meat but spending more for meat from good sources can go a long way.

  4. LemonMeister

    TACO BELL and KB Home get less than you pay for? Thank you for suing us? YES were not responsible for our own actions. Chief concept officer? Greg Creed, putting the CON in CONCEPT officer CCO = cheat consumers often. Why must society have to sue you to get you to do the right thing? Maybe the headline should read: Go ahead we have so much cash your lawyers will be in court for the next 50 years, appeal we got you appeal right here. Melissa Lora is the currently a Board of Director for KB Home Inc and the Chief Financial Officer of TACO BELL. On Wikipedia Taco Bell’s bio has no mention of Lora who sits on KB Home Board of Directors? Clearly Melissa Lora does not want to be associated with one of the nation’s largest builders? Melissa Lora. CFO at Taco Bell Corp. Orange County, California. These corporations only care that they rake it in you the consumer could die, we don’t care, F”off”. Your brand is attacking us by insulting us with untrue advertising. What happened to the truth in Advertising law? You knew what you were selling 35% of a taco at 100% of your charge. If I went in to buy a taco for $1 and told you I’ll only pay .35 cents you’d show me the door… Chris Rock in “I’m gonna get ya sucker”

    Melissa Lora does not have a biography on TACO BELL’s Official Website? No one in management at TACO BELL has a bio on their website. Are they hiding? Another reputation issue since the food poisoning outbreak TACO BELL’s E. coli bacteria was famous for? In March 2005, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) won a landmark victory in its national boycott of Taco Bell for human rights. KB Home uses undocumented workers to build its homes? Taco Bell? A lawsuit filed in 2011 alleges that Taco Bell beef is comprised of less than 35% beef. We’ve seen the goop, it pours out of a bag like dried brown flour that coagulates into something that looks like ground beef when water is added.

    Currently, Ms. Lora serves on the following boards:

    * KB Home
    * Taco Bell, YUM Brands
    * Discovery Science Center

    Other distinguished KB Home Board members include Melissa Lora’s buddy Bruce Karatz who was just convicted as a felon and is currently under house arrest in his 24 room Bel-Air Mansion (not built by KB Home) serving out his 8 months home confinement for swindling 11 Million Dollars. Martha Stewart is a spokesperson for KB Home also served time for her former stock swindle. Gary A. Ray head of KB Home human resources is a convicted felon in this current stock swindle.

    Melissa Lora and KB Home built this lemon with Bruce Karatz. KB Home is under a Federal Trade Commission Consent Order. KB Home must buy back your home if not 100% satisfied within the first year? Why was this order servered on KB Home? They violated the truth in Advertising law? Yet they won’t buy your house back a clear violation. Melissa Lora has never responded as KB Home Board of Directors to any customer complaint letter sent to him by certified mail. KB Home sells Lemons, Just Google Melissa Lora.. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6buzywe
    Seems the entire management of both KB Home and TACO BELL has an image problem? Not mentioning their Chief Financial Officer’s proud accomplishments at KB Home. Where’s the BEEF in my poorly constructed KB Home? Both are misleading the public and getting less than they paid for. The only difference is TACO BELL exits after 24 hours; KB Home continues to give you irritable bowel syndrome. Should I be thinking outside of my bun? Taco Bell is a part of Yum! Brands, Inc. (“Yum Brands”). Yum Brands includes: Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC U.S. Properties, Inc., Taco Bell Corp., Pizza Hut, Inc., Long John Silver’s, Inc., A&W Restaurants, Inc., WingStreet, LLC, and Yum Restaurants International, Inc. She has been a Director at KB Home since 04/2004. She serves on the Taco Bell National Purchasing Co-Op Board of Directors and is a Member of the Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-Op as well as the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California. Are they all ripping you off?

    “Our government, through the USDA and FDA, provides definitions, standards and labeling guidelines for ‘ground beef.’ Just like the FTC is enforcing the 1979 FTC Consent order Against KB Home. Yeah Right! B33F just 3s not E’s. Check the art they never spelled BEEF with E’s. Just flipped over threes?

    According to Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, a best-selling new book that is putting millions of Americans off their deep-fried favourites, you are actually making a decision that involves biting into a slab of chemically enhanced beef made from the meat of more than 100 different cows that is probably contaminated with E-coli bacteria and almost certainly containing faeces of some sort. Thank you Melissa Lora for your contribution to society at KB Home and TACO BELL.

    Fast Food Nation

    The waste products from poultry plants, including the sawdust and old newspapers used as litter, are also being fed to cattle. A study published a few years ago in ‘Preventative Medicine’ notes that in Arkansas alone, about 3 million pounds of chicken manure were fed to cattle in 1994.”

    A earlier investigation by NBC news said that the Cattle King Packing Company — at the time, the USDA’s largest supplier of ground beef for school lunches and a supplier to Fast Food companies — routinely processed cattle that were already dead before arriving at its plant, hid diseased cattle from inspectors, and mixed rotten meat that had been returned by customers into packages of hamburger meat.

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