Taco Bell Meat Debacle: Brand Reputation Management w/ Facts Business News | January 25, 2011 | By Aaron Schoenberger

Taco Bell Meat - Nachos BellGrande
As many of you have heard, Taco Bell is in a spicy legal debate over its taco meat filling, and false allegations are spreading throughout the Internet like wild fires. Instead of ignoring the issue or coming up with an outlandish excuse, Taco Bell has taken an offense, fact-infused approach.

According to the Associated Press, “An Alabama law firm claims in a lawsuit that Taco Bell is using false advertising when it refers to using ‘seasoned ground beef’ or ‘seasoned beef’ in its products.” The article goes on to state: “The meat mixture sold by Taco Bell restaurants contains binders and extenders and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as ‘beef,’ according to the legal complaint.”

Taco Bell has fired back with a clear, concise statement from its President and Chief Concept Officer, Greg Creed. The statement reads:

“At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket, like Tyson Foods. We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture. We are proud of the quality of our beef and identify all the seasoning and spice ingredients on our website. Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later — and got their “facts” absolutely wrong. We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food.”

Even though Taco Bell may not be in the wrong, negative press such as this can truly harm a brand, especially when it’s all over the Internet. Providing facts to rebut a claim is smart, however a rock-solid disaster control plan must be put into action.



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