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Does Taco Bell Use Horse Meat? The Truth Behind the Controversy

Popular fast-food company Taco Bell serves a variety of dishes with a Mexican influence. The inclusion of horse meat in Taco Bell items, however, has long been the subject of rumors. Customers who are concerned about the caliber and safety of the food they are eating have expressed their concerns as a result of this.

A Taco Bell in Hudson Square in New York

Ranker and Gawker are two sources that claim Taco Bell has been exposed in the past for utilizing horse meat in their products.

Although the corporation has refuted these allegations, there is proof to the contrary. For instance, Taco Bell’s beef products in the UK were found to have evidence of horse DNA in 2013.

To assure the safety of its food, the corporation responded by removing the impacted products off the shelves and undertaking extra testing.

Taco Bell insists that they exclusively use top-notch beef in their products in spite of these events. To make sure that their suppliers adhere to their requirements, they have put in place strong quality control systems.

However, the horse meat stories continue to circulate, and many customers are still dubious of the company’s assertions.

In this post, we’ll look into the veracity of these stories and weigh the arguments in favor of and against Taco Bell’s usage of horse meat in their meals.

Taco Bell’s Meat Sources

Popular fast-food company Taco Bell serves a variety of dishes with a Mexican influence.


Regarding the caliber and sources of its meat, the business has encountered numerous difficulties throughout the years.

The inclusion of horse meat in the chain’s meals has been one of the most frequently raised questions.

Taco Bell’s Official Statement on Meat Sources

Taco Bell has insisted time and time again that none of its products include horse meat.

The business has additionally claimed that all of their meat is USDA-inspected and adheres to the strictest standards for quality and safety.

Taco Bell has put in place a number of stringent policies and procedures to guarantee the integrity and security of its beef.

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For instance, the business stipulates guidelines for the shipping, handling, and welfare of animals for its suppliers.

Taco Bell also does routine audits of its suppliers to make sure they adhere to its standards for quality and safety.

Taco Bell’s History with Meat Controversies

Taco Bell has made claims regarding the high quality and safety of its beef, yet over the years, there have been a number of problems surrounding the business.

One of the most notable incidents was in 2013, when it was discovered that traces of horse meat were present in some of the company’s beef products.

Taco Bell responded right away by removing all impacted goods from its restaurants, according to a statement it released.

In order to confirm that its meat products were free of horse flesh, the company also tested them further.

Even though the horse meat event was undoubtedly alarming, it is important to remember that it was a relatively uncommon occurrence.

For a very long time, Taco Bell has relied on reliable suppliers and upheld tight standards for the quality and safety of its beef.

In conclusion, Taco Bell has repeatedly insisted that it does not use horse meat in any of its products, despite some controversy over the origins and caliber of its meat over the years.

To guarantee the quality and safety of its meat, the chain has set in place a number of stringent policies and procedures, and it continues to work with reliable suppliers to uphold these standards.

Horse Meat Scandal

2013 saw Taco Bell involved in the ongoing horse meat controversy that had an impact on a number of well-known businesses in Europe.

In the UK, it was discovered that the fast-food chain’s beef contained horse flesh, according to a Gawker report.

Taco Bell tested its beef using independent DNA analysis in response to the scandal, and the results revealed that the meat was 100% beef.

The issue involving horse meat didn’t end there, either. In 2019, a report from NBC Chicago claimed that Taco Bell has been implicated in the issue once more.

This time, the chain was involved in a scandal in the UK after it was discovered that beef items supplied to the business contained horse flesh.

It should be noted that the United States does not permit the production of horse meat for human consumption.

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According to a Quartz report, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) did, however, contemplate permitting it in 2013. It would have been the first time since 2007 if the USDA had approved.

Since then, Taco Bell has taken action to guarantee that their meat is 100% beef and has put strong quality control systems in place.

Millions of people still frequent Taco Bell restaurants every year, despite the scandal involving horse meat.

Taco Bell’s Response

Numerous claims that Taco Bell uses horse meat in their beef products have been made.

inside the shop TACO BELL in Tokyo

The fast-food restaurant company, however, has continuously refuted these allegations and assured customers that all of their beef is USDA-inspected.

Taco Bell conducted independent testing on their beef products in reaction to the 2013 horse meat controversy, and the results revealed that there was no horse meat present.

The business added that the USDA has approved and inspected all of its beef suppliers.

The beef used in Taco Bell’s seasoned beef is 88% meat and 12% seasonings, spices, water, and other additives, according to the fast food chain.

Additionally, the company has worked to raise the caliber of their meat by eliminating artificial flavors and colors and only utilizing cage-free eggs.

Taco Bell still receives criticism for the caliber of its steak despite these attempts.

A complaint was filed against the company in 2011, claiming that their beef did not adhere to USDA requirements since just 35% of it was flesh.

Taco Bell continued to assure their customers of the quality of their beef after the lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

Finally, Taco Bell has taken steps to raise the caliber of their beef and has continuously denied utilizing horse meat in their beef items.

Even though the business has endured complaints and legal actions over the years, they are still dedicated to giving their clients options for high-quality, reasonably priced cuisine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Taco Bell use horse meat?

No, Taco Bell does not use horse meat in their products. However, in 2013, Taco Bell UK found traces of horse meat in some of their beef products. The company immediately withdrew the affected products and launched an investigation to ensure that it would not happen again.

Is Taco Bell’s beef real?

Yes, Taco Bell’s beef is real beef. The company has been transparent about the quality of their beef and even launched a “Thank You for suing us” campaign in response to a 2011 lawsuit that claimed their beef was not real. The lawsuit was later dropped.

What other controversies has Taco Bell faced?

In addition to the horse meat controversy, Taco Bell has faced other controversies over the years. In 2011, a lawsuit was filed claiming that Taco Bell’s beef was not real beef. The lawsuit was later dropped. In 2020, a class-action lawsuit was filed claiming that Taco Bell’s seasoned beef contained too much filler. The case is ongoing.

Is Taco Bell safe to eat?

Yes, Taco Bell is safe to eat. The company has strict food safety protocols in place to ensure the quality and safety of their food. Taco Bell also works with third-party auditors to ensure that their suppliers meet their high standards for food safety and quality.


In conclusion, there have been many debates regarding Taco Bell’s use of beef that contains horse flesh.

While there have been sporadic examples of horse meat being discovered in Taco Bell’s beef, it’s crucial to remember that these occurrences happened a while ago.

Since then, Taco Bell has taken action to make sure that all of its beef products are prepared with 100% beef and that its suppliers follow stringent quality guidelines.

Despite the controversy surrounding Taco Bell’s beef products, the business has thrived and is still a well-known fast-food brand.

This is probably because most consumers are more focused on convenience and taste than on the precise ingredients that went into making their food.

For people who are worried about the quality of their food, Taco Bell has improved the transparency and traceability of their supply chain significantly in recent years.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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