Processed Food – Now With 10% More Wood

Earlier this year, Taco Bell faced a class-action lawsuit which alleged that the they don’t put enough real beef in their tacos to accurately call the filling beef.

Two months after the lawsuit went public, the lawfirm which filed the suit dropped it and said that Taco Bell made “changes in marketing and product disclosures.”

Case closed – Taco Bell’s reputation saved.

Until I read that the following Taco Bell menu items…

  • Seasoned Beef Seasoning
  • Southwest Chicken
  • Caramel Apple Empanada
  • Corn Tortilla
  • Enchilada Rice
  • Nacho Chips
  • Red Strips
  • Strawberry Topping
  • Zesty Dressing

…contained wood.

That’s right – WOOD.

As in trees.

You can find it in the list of ingredients under the following names – cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.

And it’s not just Taco Bell.

Lots of processed food manufacturers use “cellulose in food as an extender, providing structure and reducing breakage”.

  • It allows manufacturers to claim high fibre content
  • It extends shelf life
  • And it’s water absorbing properties can mimic fat – great for fat-free products

And it’s also cheap.

And as they say – a penny saved is a penny earned.