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Lawsuit claims Taco Bell beef isn't meat

A Taco Bell restaurant is seen in this undated file photo.

January 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A California woman is suing Taco Bell, accusing the fast-food chain of false advertising when referring to "seasoned ground beef" or "seasoned beef" in its food items.

Lawyers for Amanda Obney claim that Taco Bell's meat mixture contains less than 35 percent beef, and does not meet the USDA requirements that its filling be at least 40 percent fresh meat.

"Rather than beef, these food items are actually made with a substance known as 'taco meat filling'," the lawsuit filed in Santa Ana on behalf of Obney alleges.

According to the suit, the "seasoned beef" contains water, isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate, as well as beef and seasonings.

The fast food company, based in Irvine, denies the allegations.

"We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef," said Greg Creed, president and chief concept officer of Taco Bell. "At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket, like Tyson Foods."

Taco Bell says it plans to take legal action of its own against what it calls "false statements" about its food.

The City News Service contributed to this article