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Taco Bell Meat Only 35% Beef, Claims Lawsuit

Taco Bell Meat Only 35% Beef, Claims Lawsuit
Taco Bell logo (AP) AP

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CBS/AP) If it isn't meat, then what is it?

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Calif. against "fourth meal" inventors Taco Bell claims that the late night staple's beef products don't have enough beef in them.

The class action lawsuit filed by the Montgomery law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles claims that products advertised as "seasoned ground beef" or "seasoned beef" do not meet the minimum requirements to be described as such.

Attorney Dee Miles said attorneys had Taco Bell's "meat mixture" tested and found it contained less that 35 percent beef.

The lawsuit on behalf of Taco Bell customer and California resident Amanda Obney does not seek monetary damages, but asks the court to order Taco Bell to be honest in its advertising.

"We are asking that they stop saying that they are selling beef," Miles said.

Taco Bell officials on Tuesday rejected the lawsuit's claims. Taco Bell President Greg Creed said in a statement that the lawyers who filed the lawsuit got their facts wrong and that Taco Bell plans to take legal action against those making the allegations. He did not explain specifically what type of legal action Taco Bell might take.

"At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket," Creed said. "We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture."

Miles said he wasn't concerned with Taco Bell's threat of legal action.

"We stand on the absolute facts as stated in the complaint filed in the Federal Court in California," he said.

Creed said Taco Bell is proud of the quality of its beef and identifies the seasoning and spice ingredients on its website.

According to that site, ingredients used to season the Taco Bell meat include salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats, soy lectithin, sugar, soybean oil, garlic powder, yeast extract, citric acid and cocoa powder.

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