How Much of Taco Bell's Beef is Actually Beef?

What’s really in that ground beef?

Where's the beef?

When we eat beef, we tend to assume that it’s 100-percent, well, beef. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly the case with Taco Bell, the chain that’s caused a stir in recent years by revealing that the ground beef filling that they serve is actually only 88-percent beef, with the other 12 percent being “seasonings, spices, water, and other ingredients.” But what exactly are those other ingredients?

Last year, the chain launched a page on their website, which has since been taken down, to attempt to clear up the controversy. They did a pretty good job of explaining their beef, but it still doesn’t make it sound delicious, exactly. They explain that the ground beef contains oats to help it stay moist, cellulose and soy lecithin to help water and oil bind, trehalose and maltodextrin for sweetness, potassium chloride as a salt substitute, torula yeast, lactic acid, and citric acid as flavor enhancers, sodium phosphate for texture, caramel and cocoa powder for color, and, interestingly, artificial “black pepper flavor.”

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So there you have it! 88 percent beef, 12 percent all that other stuff. Enjoy!