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Taco Bell beef lawsuit dropped by plaintiffs

Taco Bell is claiming victory after the plaintiffs dropped a lawsuit that challenged the chain's taco meat filling.

April 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Taco Bell is claiming victory in a lawsuit that challenged the chain's taco meat filling.

The plaintiffs have dropped the class action lawsuit, three months after it was filed in federal court in Santa Ana. They had claimed Taco Bell's filling was only 35 percent beef, and sought to make the company stop calling it "beef" as well as pay the law firm's bill.

The Irvine-based fast-food chain countered with an advertising campaign that included full-page ads in at least nine major newspapers, television spots and a YouTube campaign.

Taco Bell says its taco filling contains 88 percent USDA-inspected beef and the rest is water, spices and a mixture of oats, starch and other ingredients that contribute to what it calls the "quality of its product."

It spent between $3 million and $4 million in advertising to counter the accusations made in the lawsuit, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed said.

The Alabama-based law firm Beasley Allen said it dropped the lawsuit after Taco Bell made changes to its marketing and product disclosure.

Creed countered that the chain made no changes to its products or advertising, and didn't discuss possible changes with the plaintiff's lawyers. The chain said the allegations were "absolutely wrong" and the suit was voluntarily withdrawn by the firm.

"This is a victory for truth over fiction and we're glad the lawyers voluntarily withdrew their case once they learned the truth," Creed said in a statement Tuesday.

Taco Bell said no money was exchanged as a result of the suit being dropped.

The Associated Press contributed to this story