4:06pm

Fri January 28, 2011
Shots - Health News Blog

Taco Bell Enlists Superheroes To Bite Back At Beef Lawsuit

Here's something you don't see every day from a food company: A spirited defense of its products using a spoof of a Saturday morning superhero cartoon.

Can you resist rooting for the Super Delicious Ingredient Force in its quest to defeat Baron von Bland?

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The push comes in response to a class action suit filed last week by an Alabama law firm, alleging that Taco Bell is playing a little loose with its claims about its seasoned beef taco filling.

The suit alleges that most of the filling does not meet USDA standards to be called beef because most of it includes stuff other than beef — like oats and seasonings and fillers.

Taco Bell says its beef is 100 percent USDA inspected, and that its recipe is 88 percent beef, 12 percent "secret recipe."

The company is also launching a "Thanks for suing us" full-page ad explaining just what is in its secret recipe for seasoned ground beef.

The ad reveals the ingrediens include water, Mexican spices, onion powder, salt, oats, caramelized sugar, cocoa powder and "other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency and quality of our seasoned beef."

Why add things to the beef? "Otherwise we'd end up with nothing more than the bland flavor of ground beef, and that doesn't make for great-tasting tacos," Taco Bell's ad says.

The bottom line is — we don't really know that much about what makes our food taste good —and maybe we should take a closer look. Remember Blueberrygate?

A tip of the hat to the company for having a little fun with its response, but food scientists, whip out your test kits. This one's gonna require a little analysis. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.