Pushing back against negative publicity over a class-action lawsuit alleging that ground beef is a minor ingredient in its meat products, Louisville-based Yum! Brands subsidiary Taco Bell purchased advertisements in several major daily newspapers today claiming that such charges are baseless because, well, it was printed in the goddamn newspaper so it’s gotta be true.
“We start with USDA-inspected quality beef (88 percent),” says the ad. “Then add water to keep it juicy and moist (3 percent). Mix in Mexican spices and flavors … (4 percent). Combine a little oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency, and quality of our seasoned beef (5 percent).”
Not so, says the lawsuit, filed last week by Alabama law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, which claims that the meat in your Chalupa contains less than 40 percent of real, actual beef.
According to the Associated Press, Taco Bell’s image has certainly taken a hit, but not that much, because Americans are total fat asses:
“This is one of those things that could be a humongous threat to their brand, which is why Taco Bell has taken such an aggressive stance on this,” said Marc Williams, an attorney at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough with extensive experience in fast-food litigation.
Industry and public relations executives say it’s critical for the company to respond forcefully to head off damage to its reputation. However, most say it’s unlikely to seriously dent Taco Bell’s image or business, which serves 35 million people a week.
“I don’t think the impact is going to be all that large,” said Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski. “It lacks the sensationalism of (other cases).”