Taco Bell's "thanks for suing us" ads were strange enough. Then came congratulations from PETA for having less meat and "thinking outside the beef." And the absurdities continue to pile up.
All this over a class-action lawsuit filed last month by a California woman that claims the company's "taco meat filling" has low beef content -- a charge that drew a sharp reaction from Taco Bell.
The US. Department of Agriculture articulates -- sort of --how it defines its meaty jargon. This Chicago Tribune story explains:
"According to the USDA, which regulates the nation's meat supply, 'taco meat filling' is required to contain at least 40 percent fresh meat and must be labeled with the product name, including the word 'filling.'
"But that requirement applies to raw meat sold by manufacturers. The USDA doesn't regulate what companies such as restaurants can describe to their customers in advertisements as 'beef,' 'chicken' or 'meat,' said USDA press officer Neil Gaffney."
And apparently, neither does the Federal Trade Commission. The story goes on to detail ingredient by ingredient exactly what's inside the taco.
But what's really a mystery isn't the meat. It's why the whole Taco Bell lawsuit has gone all pop culturey. Witness Stephen Colbert's take on his TV show: "It is beef-y. Or beef-ish? At the very least it is beef-adjacent. Let me put it this way: On a scale of one to beef, it's got something in there," he said.