Will a Lawsuit Against Taco Bell Finally Get Rid of Their Piled Up Newspaper Ads?


Taco Bell recently settled with the Federal Trade Commission over false advertising charges. The fast-food chain was accused of falsely promoting and advertising its own menu items in ads and menu promotion. Taco Bell was also accused of using false and deceptive comparisons with other fast-food chains’ offerings, like McDonald’s. According to Yougov Brand Index, Taco Bell has been slowly recovering in the public’s eye, though a recent false advertising suit targeting the popular fast-food chain has hurt its brand image in recent months. In January, Taco Bell posted its first profit loss in over three years, following the lawsuit. The company later reported improved second quarter financial results, but it still lost money for the third consecutive year.

A number of lawsuits have since been filed against the fast-food giant, as owners and franchisees feel that the company did not live up to its claims of providing healthy and nutritious food choices for consumers. Franchisees contend that taco bell failed to disclose ingredients found in its tortilla chips and did not warn customers that hot foods prepared with beef products may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. According to the lawsuit, franchisees did not receive proper warning about a problem that they assumed was a problem from the food processing company, which manufactured and distributed taco bell food products.

Taco Bell LLC is the company currently being sued for the lawsuit, and franchisee operators are asking the federal court to allow them to class their lawsuit under the name of “defendants”. Taco Bell LLC owns many participating locations across the United States and also operates under a national franchise agreement. The lawsuit, which was filed in January by the California Franchise Association, alleged breach of contract and consumer fraud, among other charges. According to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the following were wrongfully advertised or misrepresented by the defendant:

* When a customer goes to a participating location and obtains a product that says it contains 100% organic tortilla chips, but in actuality it contains only a small amount of organic tortilla chips. * When a taco bell customer is made aware that this product is made with beef gelatin, which is not at all healthy, and it causes health officials restaurant complaints when food poisoning occurs. * In addition, some plaintiffs in the lawsuit say that defendants failed to tell the franchised location operators that shrimp and fish products in the restaurant were also unhealthy, and possibly dangerous to consume due to parasites.

Taco Bell LLC is currently defending itself against these accusations in a proposed class-action lawsuit currently before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. According to court documents obtained by the law firm representing the franchisees, Taco Bell “filed numerous documents with the FDA, claiming that the shrimp and fish they use in their tortillas are completely safe and healthy.” Although the restaurant has admitted that they used beef powders and chicken broth, both of which are not approved raw materials for making tacos, they claim that this mixture of ingredients was added to the tortillas only after the product had already been processed to meet the FDA’s guidelines for safe food preparation.

Plaintiffs’ counsel has additionally filed a complaint against Taco Bell stating that the company is guilty of falsely advertising their products. The complaint further claims that Taco Bell representatives have told franchisees that using beef powders and chicken broth in tortillas will increase their profits, when in fact that ingredient alone will not do so. It is not difficult to see how this particular lawsuit will proceed. Will a court order Taco Bell to change the directions on their tortilla products and add vegetables and breading to each taco? Will a court order Taco Bell to remove the term “burger” from their menu? Perhaps, or perhaps not.

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