Saturday, February 5, 2011

Class G Meat

It has come to my attention that certain American consumers are suffering from unrealistic expectations concerning their fast food products. The law-firm of Blood, Hearst, and O’ Reardon (the commercials practically write themselves) has filed a class-action suit against Taco Bell for deceptive marketing practices concerning their “beef.”

Apparently, the “meat” that comprises the restaurant’s tacos may not be of the highest quality. The suit alleges the chain of utilizing “meat fillers” in its ground beef to reduce costs. The result is a mixture that contains around 30% actual meat with the remaining 70% largely consisting of wheat, soy, and water. While the law-firm has reluctantly agreed to accept a large fee for their efforts, they have made it clear that the education and protection of American consumers is their number one priority.

I for one am shocked that a culinary juggernaut employing high school kids to dispense sour cream from a caulk gun would serve anything less than the choicest USDA offerings. After all, if a business can produce a soft taco that costs less than a tin of altoids while remaining profitable, there is no reason to believe they are cutting any corners. Let’s be realistic; no one goes to Taco Bell expecting anything more than a full stomach for the price of a 9-volt battery (and perhaps, a late-night case of the skids.)    

To be honest, I am somewhat relieved that they cut their beef with something as benign as soy because I had always suspected they used Eskimo plasma or embalming fluid. Five years ago, there was a rumor floating around that the boxes of Taco Bell beef were labeled “Class G, but for human consumption.” The assertion being that the company had somehow discovered a loop-hole allowing them to utilize bovine byproducts normally reserved for an Alpo factory or the McRib.

I explain how these rumors spread here.

As It turns out, there is no such thing as Class G Beef (apparently it becomes something else entirely before you travel that deep into the alphabet) but the rumor did highlight a widespread suspicion held by the public that something was not quite right about the price point of Taco Bell’s nachos. Did any of us really imagine a sous-chef carefully browning a pan of choice Black Angus every time we rolled up to the drive through and asked for a sombrero pack of Gordita nuggets?

The attorneys have also requested a jury trial (in the interest of justice) so that they present their case to twelve people being compensated poorly enough to guarantee that Taco Bell is the only place they can afford to eat during lunch recess. I wonder the plaintiff’s closing argument will be: 

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I stand before you not as a practicing attorney with a rather unfortunate surname, but as a frugal carnivore often pressed for time. Like you, I trust publicly-traded multi-billion dollar food conglomerates to be honest with me concerning the quality and safety of their products, but over the past several months that illusion has been shattered by Taco Bell’s systematic deception of the American public.

As I speak, the bailiff is handing each of you a packet of mild sauce to take with you into the deliberation room as a reminder of the egregious culinary deception perpetrated by the defendant. Regardless of what you decide, the packet is yours to take home and place in your silverware drawer where it will be forgotten until you move. Remember ladies and gentlemen Taco Bell’s drive-through may be open late, but justice never sleeps.
The bottom line is this: If you can hand someone a one-dollar bill and in turn they hand you a fresh Mexican entrée and change; it is best not to ask too many questions about their business model.

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