Does Taco Bell Use Real Beef?
Taco Bell’s seasoned beef is 88% “100 percent USDA-inspected premium real beef” and 12% common ingredients like soy, spices, water, and oats. In other words, Taco Bell’s beef is real beef, which when added to their taco sauce forms the mixture which is placed into your taco.
TIP: The following video is Taco Bell’s own PR video, we fact-check their claims regarding their seasoned beef below and explain some of the ingredients.
Taco Bell PR video – Of Course We Use Real Beef! We did some fact-checking and what Taco Bell claims checks out. See below for details.
FACT: Taco Bell uses real beef in a “seasoned beef” sauce, which is composed of water and spices, similar to the way you would make taco filling at home.
What Does Taco Bell Have to Say?
According to Taco Bell’s FAQ:
“The beef we buy is 100 percent USDA premium beef. Before coming to our restaurants, it is drained of excess fat and pre-seasoned with our signature blend of 12 authentic seasonings and spices – much the same way you prepare taco meat at home. It is then packaged with added water for moisture and shipped to our restaurants, where it’s prepared just for you ensuring you’re getting the same great tasting seasoned beef no matter which of our restaurants you are eating at.”
What’s in Taco Bell Beef?
Here are all Taco Bell Seasoned Beef Ingredients as of January 1st, 2016:
“Beef, water, seasoning [cellulose, chili pepper, onion powder, salt, oats (contains wheat), maltodextrin, soy lecithin, tomato powder, sugar, soybean oil, spices, garlic powder, citric acid, caramel color (C), disodium inosinate & guanylate, cocoa powder, natural and artificial flavors (contains gluten), trehalose, modified corn starch, lactic acid, torula yeast], salt, phosphates. Contains: Soy, Wheat”
Explainers of Certain Taco Bell Ingredients
Here are some of the ingredients in Taco Bell’s taco meat, what Taco Bell has to say about them according to an interview done with ABC News, and then what we have to say about all that:
“It sounds weird, but it’s actually a form of mildly sweet sugar we use to balance the flavor. You may have had it the last time you had a natural soda,” Taco Bell says.
We say: What Taco bell says checks out. Maltodextrin is an artificial sugar that when eaten on its own it has no nutritional value and can spike blood sugar, but it’s a common additive in food and only really unhealthy in large amounts.
2. TORULA YEAST
“This is a form of yeast that gives our seasoned beef a more savory taste,” the company says.
We say: What Taco bell says checks out. Torula yeast is a replacement for MSG, some people still have an allergic reaction, but it really is just a common form of yeast used in lots of the food you eat.
3. MODIFIED CORNSTARCH
“Actually, it’s derived from corn, which is a food staple in Mexican culture as well as many others. We use a small amount as a thickener and to maintain moisture in our seasoned beef. It’s common in many foods like yogurt,” Taco Bell states.
We say: Cornstarch, like the stuff in your cupboard you use to thicken sauces. It’s about as healthy as maltodextrin, which is to say it has no nutritional value but is a common food additive.
4. SOY LECITHIN
“When you prepare as much seasoned beef as we do, you don’t want it to separate. That’s what soy lecithin does. It helps (with moisture) to bind substances that would otherwise separate — like oil and water. It’s a common ingredient in many grocery staples, like chocolate bars and salad dressings,” says Taco Bell.
We say: Yes. It’s just an emulsifier. Again, it’s used everywhere and shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts.
5. SODIUM PHOSPHATES
Taco Bell says it uses this “to help make sure our seasoned beef is the right texture.”
“They’re also commonly found in deli items, cheeses, coffee drinks and desserts,” the company says.
6. LACTIC ACID
Taco Bell says, “This safe acid occurs in almost all living things, and we use a very small amount to manage the acidity to get the right flavor.”
7. CARAMEL COLOR AND COCOA POWDER
Taco Bell says the caramel color “is caramelized sugar, which is a commonly used food coloring (also found in cereals and pancake syrup). Cocoa Powder doesn’t add any flavor to our recipe, but it helps our seasoned beef maintain a rich color.”
Taco Bell: “It’s a naturally occurring sugar that we use to improve the taste of our seasoned beef.”