After Taco Bell’s proclamation to its consumers that the beef that they were eating at its fast food locations was only actually 88 percent beef, customers were left scratching their heads. If that was the case, many wondered what exactly accounted for that other 12 percent of the meat in the extra large grande burrito they had just inhaled in a matter of minutes in the backseat of their friend’s car. In light of this exact type of circumstance, Taco Bell officially unveiled the ingredients of its so-called 12 percent mystery beef on its website for all the suspicious and skeptical Taco Bell patrons who do not like the sound of an 88 percent beef fast food dinner to research exactly what they are eating and the contents therein.
The company introduced an area on its website that is an explainer for what the other 12 percent is comprised of. The explainer goes into great detail to unveil the ingredients in its mystery beef and resolve any unanswered questions. Taco Bell admits that some of the ingredients that are added to its beef do have weird names, but that they are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and most are also common ingredients that can be found in a lot of foods in local grocery stores. The fast food chain claims that each of the ingredients is added to make the company’s seasoned beef taste great. It also noted that it only ever uses USDA inspected, 100 percent premium real beef, and never uses monosodium glutamate (MSG), a well-known, but unnatural flavor enhancing product.
Taco Bell beef is 88 percent beef, but the other 12 percent is made up of the Taco Bell “secret ingredients”. Here they are:
1. Maltodextrin, which is a type of mildly sweet sugar used to balance the flavor of the products. Taco Bell says this can often be found in natural soda.
2. Torula Yeast, which is a type of yeast that adds a “more savory taste” to the Taco Bell beef, according to the company.
3. Modified Corn Starch. Derived from corn, which Taco Bell stresses is a Mexican food staple, the company uses a small amount of this for thickener. The company says this product is also common in many other foods; one example would be yogurt.
4. Soy Lecithin. This product helps to bind substances, and is especially helpful in keeping the beef together so it does not separate, because a lot of it is made at Taco Bell restaurants, says the company.
5. Sodium Phosphates, which, according to Taco Bell, is used to make sure its seasoned beef has and maintains the proper texture. This substance can also be commonly found in deli products; for example, cheeses, desserts, and drinks containing coffee.
6. Lactic Acid. Taco Bell stresses that this is an especially safe one, as it occurs in almost all living organisms. The company says that it uses it in very small amounts to get the right flavor.
7. Caramel Color and Cocoa Powder. These, Taco Bell says, are safe because they are used in common cereals, pancake mixes, etc. The fast food chain uses them in its beef in order to get a richer brown color to it.
8. Thehalose, which is a naturally occurring sugar. Taco Bell uses it to improve the taste of its seasoned beef, it says.
Go and check out Taco Bell’s website to view its explainer, which unveils the ingredients of its 12% mystery beef in full detail.
By Laura Clark