Taco Bell reveals what’s in ‘other 12 percent’ of its beef

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Beef tacos from Taco Bell. (Photo: TacoBell.com)

NEW YORK (PIX11) — What’s in the beef? Taco Bell now has an answer.

Purchasing some 300 million pounds of seasoned beef every year, the fast food giant is one of the largest beef buyers in the U.S.

But what exactly makes up those chalupas and crunch wraps has been cause for culinary fodder, especially since Taco Bell – facing a lawsuit in 2011 that claimed their beef was fake – revealed that their meat is 88 percent beef.

That had many customers curious about what comprised the other 12 percent.

Owned by Yum! Brands, Inc., Taco Bell recently, quietly, added an explanation to its website:

“We also go to great lengths to be open about the ingredients we use, and want you to know the truth. Our seasoned beef recipe consists of 88% Premium Beef and 12% Signature Recipe. All of our ingredients are listed on our ingredient statement page, and you can learn more about these ingredients and the Taco Bell meat grade by clicking on a topic below,” the company said, pointing visitors to an interactive grid of ingredients and explanations.

(Photo: TacoBell.com)

Among the ingredients in Taco Bell’s “Signature Recipe” are oats (to keep it moist), caramel color and cocoa powder (for coloring), soy lechithin (as a binder), and trehalose (a sugar to improve taste).

“They do have weird names – perfect for tongue twisters! But these ingredients are completely safe and approved by the FDA. They’re common ingredients also found in food items at your grocery store,” the company said.

Taco Bell even addressed an often-shared “fact” repeated with a laugh – or a sneer: “Is it Grade D meat?”

“Although that’s funny, the answer is NO. In fact, there’s no such grade given by the USDA for beef. We use the same quality beef used in all ground beef (like you’d find in the grocery store) – only USDA-inspected, 100% premium real beef, period,” Taco Bell said.

Read more Q&A with the fast food purveyor, here.

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