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Where Does Taco Bell Get Their Meat: Sourcing and Quality Control Explained

If you enjoy Taco Bell’s flavorful beef, you might be curious about the source of the meat. Taco Bell has been open about the components in their seasoned beef, but it is less obvious how they obtain their meat. Taco Bell uses “100% USDA premium beef” in their seasoned beef, according to their website.

Taco Bell Mexican takeaway branch

Similar to how you would make taco meat at home, Taco Bell’s beef is simmered, drained of unwanted fat, and then pre-seasoned with a blend of seven real flavors and spices.

The website, however, makes no indication of the source of their beef.

Although Taco Bell doesn’t disclose where its beef comes from, there have been speculations and debates concerning the company’s meat.

Taco Bell was sued in 2011 on the grounds that only 35% of the beef in their seasoned beef was indeed beef.

In order to address the accusations and make it clear that their seasoned beef was genuinely 88% beef, Taco Bell refuted these allegations and began a marketing campaign.

Taco Bell’s Meat Source

Taco Bell takes the process of choosing its suppliers for its beef extremely seriously.

First TACO BELL branch in Thailand

They only do business with vendors who live up to their strict criteria for quality and security.

We’ll examine in more detail how Taco Bell chooses their meat suppliers and ensures the quality of their meat in this part.

Supplier Selection

Suppliers of beef to Taco Bell are subject to stringent criteria for environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and food safety.

Chicken Taco served in soft taco. Taco Bell, jakarta

They collaborate with a small number of carefully screened suppliers who live up to their high requirements.

Organizations like the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program, among others, are required to certify Taco Bell’s suppliers.

Additionally, Taco Bell demands that their suppliers adhere to stringent animal welfare standards, such as those established by the Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) program of the National Pork Board and the Animal Welfare Guidelines of the National Chicken Council.

Additionally, they demand that their suppliers utilize eco-friendly procedures, like lowering greenhouse gas emissions and water conservation.

Meat Quality Assurance

To guarantee the security and caliber of its beef, Taco Bell has a stringent quality assurance mechanism in place.

Taco Bell A great place to hang out

To make sure that their suppliers are adhering to all food safety and quality regulations, they regularly audit them.

Additionally, Taco Bell checks its beef for infections like E. Salmonella and E. coli to guarantee that it is secure for ingestion.

Taco Bell also mandates that their suppliers follow tight guidelines for the meat they supply, including limits on the amount of fat and seasoning.

This makes it possible to maintain the high quality and flavor of the meat used in Taco Bell’s menu items.

Overall, Taco Bell is very serious about its beef procurement and quality control.

They only work with a small number of suppliers that live up to their strict requirements for sustainability, quality, and safety.

To guarantee the safety and consistency of the quality and flavor of their meat, they also have a strict quality assurance program in place.

Processing and Preparation

For its seasoned beef, Taco Bell only uses 100% USDA premium meat. The beef comes from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.

Box set of tasty taco at taco bell

The beef served at Taco Bell is handled and prepared in accordance with strict quality guidelines, guaranteeing its flavor and freshness.

Following delivery to Taco Bell’s processing facilities, the beef is examined, cut, and ground. The ground beef is then simmered and any extra fat is drained before being cooked in big portions.

After that, the beef is pre-seasoned using Taco Bell’s special combination of seven genuine flavors and spices.

The meat served at Taco Bell is never frozen and is always fresh. In specially made containers, the beef is transported to Taco Bell restaurants where it is kept at the ideal temperature until it is prepared and served.

The beef served at Taco Bell is prepared in a way that makes it safe to consume.

The business has stringent food safety standards in place to guard against contamination and guarantee that all food is prepared to the proper temperature.

Additionally, Taco Bell consistently tests its beef to make sure it lives up to the company’s strict requirements for taste and quality.

In conclusion, Taco Bell’s beef is acquired from reputable vendors, processed and prepared in accordance with exacting standards of quality, and then delivered fresh to restaurants.

Never frozen, Taco Bell’s beef comes pre-seasoned with a blend of seven genuine herbs and spices.

To guarantee that all of the company’s food is safe to consume, comprehensive food safety standards have been put in place.

Taco Bell’s Transparency

When it comes to the ingredients utilized in its menu items, Taco Bell has been open and honest.

Tacos and Nachos of Taco Bell

The fast food restaurant chain has been clear that their seasoned meat is not made entirely of beef.

Taco Bell’s seasoned beef, according to their website, is made up of 88% beef and 12% “signature recipe.”

The seasoned beef is among the ingredients listed on Taco Bell’s website for its menu items. Ingredients like water, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder are in the list.

Taco Bell has worked to raise the caliber of its ingredients in addition to presenting a list of them.

The fast food company declared in 2021 that it would be experimenting with a pea and chickpea beef substitute. Additionally, Taco Bell tested a Beyond Meat plant-based meat alternative.

Taco Bell has been open about the products they use, although they have previously come under fire for the quality of their beef.

Taco Bell was the target of a class-action lawsuit in 2011 that claimed its seasoned beef wasn’t beefy enough to be labeled beef.

Although the lawsuit was ultimately withdrawn, it did highlight the poor quality of the meat utilized by fast-food restaurants.

The majority of the time, Taco Bell has been open about the ingredients that go into its menu products, including their seasoned beef.

Despite earlier criticism, they have worked to raise the caliber of their ingredients and provide meat substitutes for customers who favor plant-based options.

Controversies and Criticisms

Taco Bell has seen its fair share of problems and criticisms in relation to the meat used in its menu items.

Taco Bell Nacho Box

The most notable ones are listed below:

  • Lawsuit over “seasoned beef”: In 2011, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Taco Bell alleging that the meat used in its menu items was not beefy enough to be called beef. The law firm behind the lawsuit claimed that the meat was only about 36% actual beef and insisted that it be labeled “taco meat filling” instead of “seasoned beef.” However, the lawsuit was voluntarily withdrawn by the firm relatively quickly.
  • Beef recall over metal shavings: In 2019, Taco Bell had to recall 2.3 million pounds of seasoned beef due to concerns over metal shavings found in the product. The franchise removed and discarded the affected meat from its restaurants and supply chain.
  • Criticism over meat quality: Despite Taco Bell’s insistence that its beef is 100% real beef, some critics and customers have raised concerns over the quality of the meat used in its menu items. Some have claimed that the meat is low-quality, while others have accused Taco Bell of using fillers and additives to stretch the meat further.

Overall, despite various disputes and accusations regarding the quality and sourcing of its meat, Taco Bell has insisted that all of its beef is genuine and that it has taken action to resolve any problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Front of Yum Brands Taco Bell fast food restaurant

What kind of meat does Taco Bell use?

Taco Bell uses 100% USDA-inspected premium beef for their seasoned beef. They also offer chicken, steak, and vegetarian options on their menu.

Where does Taco Bell get their beef?

Taco Bell sources their beef from the same suppliers as many grocery stores and restaurants. The beef is sourced from domestic farms and is USDA inspected to ensure safety and quality.

Is Taco Bell’s beef real beef?

Yes, Taco Bell’s seasoned beef is made with 100% real beef. The beef is slow-cooked and seasoned with a blend of spices to give it the signature Taco Bell flavor.

Does Taco Bell use any fillers or additives in their beef?

No, Taco Bell does not use any fillers or additives in their beef. The beef is seasoned with a blend of spices and then cooked slowly to ensure maximum flavor and tenderness.

Does Taco Bell offer any vegetarian options?

Yes, Taco Bell offers a variety of vegetarian options on their menu, including the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, the Bean Burrito, and the Veggie Power Bowl. They also offer the option to customize any menu item to be vegetarian by substituting meat for beans or potatoes.



To sum up, Taco Bell purchases their meat from a variety of suppliers across the country.

To make its famous meals, the fast-food company uses actual meat that is procured from an abattoir and prepared before being seasoned.

Although there have been issues in the past with Taco Bell’s meat’s composition and quality, the business has subsequently resolved these issues and altered its marketing strategies.

88 percent of the beef at Taco Bell is beef, and the remaining 12 percent is made up of seasonings, spices, water, and other substances, according to ABC News.

After the fast food franchise was sued over the caliber of its meat, this information was made public in 2014.

Since then, Taco Bell has spent millions of dollars on videos and advertising to explain the meat’s composition and reassure customers that its food is safe and of the highest caliber.

It is important to note that the meat suppliers to Taco Bell are subject to stringent rules and requirements established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

These laws guarantee that the meat is fit for human eating and satisfies specified standards of quality.

To further assure that its goods meet industry standards, Taco Bell has created its own food safety and quality control procedures.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality 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.