Friday, January 28, 2011

Thinking Waaay Outside The Bun

As anyone who has spent time on the other side of a fast food counter knows, the ingredients that go into burgers, fries, chicken nuggets and such can be pretty scary. Michael Pollan said as much in his marvelously instructive Omnivore's Dilemma, but now comes what may be the hands down grossest substitution for the real thing: Taco Bell's Taco Meat Filling, which purports to be beef but contains a mere 36 percent of the real thing.

The other 64 percent?

How about water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose), soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2 percent of beef broth, potassium phosphate, and potassium lactate.

Truly "a clustermass of disgust," as one blog termed it.


Anonymous said...

Hello Shaun

Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of factory food, junk food, or Taco Bell in particular, but most of the stuff on that list is either flavorings, fillers (think bangers), or analogues of more familiar stuff. The analogues picked because they turn rancid more slowly.

Disgusting as it sounds, the Taco Bell mix is probably healthier than the real thing would be.

We enjoy your column every day.



Shaun Mullen said...

True enough, I suppose, but the largely point is false advertising, and in that Taco Bell has plenty of company.