It's really not a big surprise to me that there are "fillers" associated with fast food meat products. After all, I add oatmeal to meatloaf to stretch my budget. I like porcupine meatballs, that are aptly named, as they have rice in them. Again, grains to stretch meat dollars. I was kinda surprised to see on Twitter, and in the Chronicle that Taco Bell (or Taco Hell, or Taco Smell - we all have nicknames for chain places) uses less than 35% real meat in their "seasoned beef". I would love to say with absolute conviction that I have never, personally, noticed a difference - but, I don't really trade with them. Like most chains, it's a desperation play on my part. Well, buscept for Taco Cabana. If you've read my blog, you know I have a very soft spot in my even softer belly for them. The stewed chicken is delicious, in my ever so humble opinion.
All these things being said, for the average chain and the even more average value menu, we might be rather startled at the ratio of real USDA, inspected and certified meat vs. filler. This is something that really merits more research on my part. I'll get right on that, provided the data is available.
On a side note, how do the vegetarian processing companies make a sausage that actually tastes like sausage? You can't really convince me that there exists a vegetable that is pork-flavored. Anyone have some ideas on that business? Inquiring minds wanna know, and have to get back to work.
Just remember, this under 35% meat product is served up by the fine folks that also pawn off reconstituted bean powder as "beans". How's that for high-quality, reasonably priced Mexican fare? Me, I'll just stick to the taqueria or that Cabana place I am so endeared to. Now that is thinking outside the leavened food product that holds my sandwich, or bun.
Taco Bell plans to counter-sue, claims to use 100% USDA-inspected beef from the same people the common consumer might buy from, like, say Tyson Foods. Really? Lab tests allegedly confirmed a large (say, 65% plus) presence of maltodextrin, soy lecithin, etc. Looks like Battle Meat is heating up! Even though the original suite asked for no monetary compensation, just truthful advertising. Wouldn't 100% honest advertising shake up value menus across the nation...