(NaturalNews) Many people have heard the rumors and jokes about fast food chains not actually using real meat in their products. But a new class-action lawsuit, filed by the Montgomery, Ala.-based law firm Beasley Allen on behalf of a California woman, accuses fast food chain Taco Bell of deceitfully calling its taco filling "beef" when less than 40 percent of it is actually composed of real beef.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines meat as simply "flesh of animals," and even allows for products called "meat" to contain as little as 40 percent meat. But Taco Bell's "meat" filling only contains about 35 percent ground beef, with the rest composed of various fillers, additives, and extenders, alleges the suit.
The official Taco Bell website explains that its ground beef contains beef, followed by a "seasoning" mixture composed of things like "isolated oat product" and silicon dioxide, an anti-caking agent. The ingredient list even contains soybean oil, which is described as an "anti-dusting agent."
Taco Bell has issued a statement countering the suit, insisting that it "prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value." The company vehemently denies that its advertising is "misleading in any way" and indicated that it intends to "vigorously defend the suit."
And a recently-amended response to the suit, issued by Taco Bell President and Chief Concept Officer Greg Creed, goes even further, explaining that the company plans to take offensive action as well.
"Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later -- and got their 'facts' absolutely wrong," alleges Creed. "We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food."
But facts are facts. If Taco Bell's meat filling contains less than 40 percent meat, than it cannot legally be called meat. And instead of seeking monetary compensation, the goal of the lawsuit is to simply require Taco Bell to be honest with its customers about what they are eating.