Taco Bell has unveiled the ingredients in its mystery beef, but consumers are still questioning the company’s accuracy. The chain claims that its 88 percent beef, but the other 12 percent has been a mystery until now.
Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, has posted an explanation on what the 12 percent is. The company states on the website that they “do have weird names,” but they’re all “safe and approved by the FDA.”
“They’re common ingredients also found in food items at your grocery store,” the company states. “Each ingredient helps make our Seasoned Beef taste great. Many of them are items you might use at home such as salt, peppers, and spices. Ingredients like oats and sodium phosphates help make sure the texture is right.”
The company also noted it uses only USDA-inspected, “100 percent premium real beef” and no monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which is a flavor enhancer.
“We believe it’s important that consumers make informed decisions about what they eat, and so for many years have provided details of our ingredients on our website,” Rob Poetsch, Taco Bell spokesman, told ABCNews.com.
Derek Lowe, a chemist and blogger with a Ph.D. from Duke University, said he sympathizes with people who are surprised these ingredients are food, but he said he has “no patience” with the general argument, “I can’t pronounce it, so I won’t eat it.” Lowe says there’s nothing on the list that he has a problem with.
Here’s the list for the Taco Bell mystery beef:
- 1. MALTODEXTRIN - a form of mildly sweet sugar we use to balance the flavor. It’s also in soda. No mystery here.
- 2. TORULA YEAST - yeast that gives seasoned beef a more savory taste.
- 3. MODIFIED CORN STARCH - Derived from corn, which is a food staple in Mexican culture as well as many others.
- 4. SOY LECITHIN - It helps (with moisture) to bind substances that would otherwise separate — like oil and water.
- 5. SODIUM PHOSPHATES - to help make sure seasoned beef is the right texture.
- 6. LACTIC ACID - Taco Bell uses a very small amount to manage the acidity to get the right flavor.
- 7. CARAMEL COLOR AND COCOA POWDER - is caramelized sugar, which is a commonly used food coloring.
- 8. TREHALOSE - It’s a naturally occurring sugar that we use to improve the taste of our seasoned beef.
So, now that you know what’s in the Taco Bell beef, will you still eat it?