So I just received my current issue (February 7, 2011) issue of Time Magazine and they have a very informative article Titled "Fast Food: What's in your taco?".
In this article they also detail the current lawsuit against Taco Bell regarding what is actually in their taco meat. To remind you the USDA requires 40% fresh meat when an item is labeled "Taco Meat Filling. (If it is labeled ground beef it needs to be 70% beef with no more than 30% fat). According to this lawsuit, the claim is that Taco Bells meat is only 35% beef. Taco Bell denies this and claims that their beef is 88% meat.
What I learned from this article that really shocked me was the detailed list of what the other ingredients are in the meat. According to Time Magazine, one such ingredient is "Silicon Dioxide" . Silicon Dioxide is finely ground pure SAND (that's right sand) added to many products, including table salt, that makes the mixture easier to pour. This list does also include some recognizable seasonings, including salt, chili pepper, and onion powder but also some that you can't get at your local grocery store including isolate oat product, maltodextrin, and soy lecithin.
Now to give Taco Bell some credit, they are not the only ones to blame nor should they be the only one made to run for the border (little Taco Bell humor). They are not the only food chain to include additives and preservatives into their food. According to Time, a federal judge once called McDonald's Chicken McNugget a "McFrankenstein creation". (Side note: PETA has a marketing line that includes pictures of chickens and the slogan is "I am not a nugget"-I didn't realize how true that it until now)
This is why I will continue to promote cooking at home, buying local (whenever possible), and reading the labels of the foods that you buy. When you cook at home you are in control of what goes into your food. Not only that, you become in control of what does not go into your food. We are being allowed to be sold half truths regarding our food. We are being attracted to food with labels that may or may not be correct. And the agencies that we trust to monitor this appear to have just as low standards.
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