Taco Bell is trying to dispel any rumors or concerns of mystery meat in its beef. In a page posted on its website titled "What Are Those Other Ingredients," the Irvine-based company attempts to explain the 12% of its "signature recipe" that is not beef.
According to a Taco Bell spokesperson, the information has been available since 2011 and is not a new feature, as reported by various news outlets.
On the page, the company acknowledges that some of the ingredients in its beef mixture have "pretty weird names."
Here's the official recipe:
"We start with USDA-inspected quality beef. Then add water to keep it juicy and moist. Mix in Mexican spices and flavors, including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, and cocoa powder. Combine a little oats, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency, and quality of our seasoned beef."
Those "other ingredients" include trehalose, described by the company as a naturally occurring sugar used to enhance the flavor of the meat; torula yeast, "a form of yeast that gives our seasoned beef a more savory taste"; cellulose, "a safe carbohydrate found in the cell walls of plants and helps with water and oil binding"; and "artificial flavor" described as black pepper flavor.
Other ingredients listed include soy lecithin, caramel color, cocoa powder, citric acid and oats.
The company also addresses why the beef is so cheap, stating that it's 100% USDA-inspected premium beef bought in bulk at lower prices that it passes on to the consumer.
Doubts regarding Taco Bell's meat were brought up in a class action lawsuit involving the fast food company and the Alabama-based Beasley Allen law firm. The firm voluntarily withdrew the suit in 2011.