WBEZ | fast food http://www.wbez.org/tags/fast-food Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Fast food protesters set sights on presidential candidates http://www.wbez.org/news/fast-food-protesters-set-sights-presidential-candidates-113730 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_15643403713.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 620px;" title="(AP Photo/Andre Penner)" /></div><p>NEW YORK &mdash; Workers from McDonald&#39;s, Taco Bell and other chain restaurants protested in cities around the country Tuesday to push fast-food companies to pay them at least $15 an hour.</p><p>The protesters also had a message for presidential candidates: Support the cause or lose their vote next year.</p><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/comegetmyvotescreenshot.JPG" style="height: 273px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="(Screenshot of landing page and petition on fightfor15.org)" /><p>The fast food protests were planned by organizers at more than 270 cities nationwide, part of an ongoing campaign called &quot;Fight for $15.&quot; Janitors, nursing home workers and package delivery workers also joined some protests, organizers said.</p><p>Dominique McCrae, who serves fried chicken and biscuits at a Bojangles&#39; restaurant for $7.55 an hour, joined a protest outside a McDonald&#39;s in Durham, North Carolina. Her pay isn&#39;t enough to cover rent or diapers for her child, the 23-year-old says. She dropped out of college to care for her grandfather, making finances tight.</p><p>&quot;We just want to be able to support our families,&quot; says McCrae, who has worked at Bojangles&#39; for two months.</p><p>A representative for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bojangles&#39; Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.</p><p>The campaign began about three years ago and is funded by the Service Employees International Union, which represents low-wage workers. Several protests have been scheduled in front of fast food restaurants, garnering media attention.</p><p>This time workers are pledging not to vote for presidential candidates that do not support the campaign. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both showed their support through Tweets on Tuesday.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Fast-food, home care, child care workers: Your advocacy is changing our country for the better. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Fightfor15?src=hash">#Fightfor15</a> -H</p>&mdash; Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/664070444425826304">November 10, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">What workers all over the United States are doing is having a profound impact. This is your movement. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FightFor15?src=hash">#FightFor15</a> <a href="https://t.co/WmgZV9nj5d">https://t.co/WmgZV9nj5d</a></p>&mdash; Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) <a href="https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/664111126771200000">November 10, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A protest was also planned near the Republican debates in Milwaukee Tuesday night, organizers said.</p><p>McDonald&#39;s worker Adriana Alvarez says she plans to vote for the first time next year, but only for a candidate who wants to raise wages to $15 an hour. Alvarez, who is 23 and lives in&nbsp;Chicago, says she makes $10.50 an hour. Higher pay can help her move out of the moldy basement apartment she shares with her 3-year-old son.</p><p>&quot;I can find a better place,&quot; she says.</p><p>The protests are occurring against a backdrop of weak wage growth nationwide. Average hourly pay has increased at roughly a 2.2 percent annual rate since the recession ended more than six years ago.</p><p>In the retail, hotel and restaurant industries, average hourly pay for front-line workers &mdash; the roughly 80 percent who aren&#39;t managers or supervisors &mdash; is below $15. It was $14.90 in the retail industry in October, the Labor Department said last week, and $13.82 for hotel employees. Restaurant workers, on average, earned $11.51 an hour.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">&quot;It&#39;s unfair 2 work for a multibillion $ company &amp; not be able to afford a bus pass&quot;-Terrence,McD wrkr <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FightFor15?src=hash">#FightFor15</a> <a href="https://t.co/BXYXKLu6M0">pic.twitter.com/BXYXKLu6M0</a></p>&mdash; Fight For 15 Chicago (@chifightfor15) <a href="https://twitter.com/chifightfor15/status/664169192338366464">November 10, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Economists have long debated the impact of raising the minimum wage, and some recent research has found that modest increases seldom cost many jobs.</p><p>But a jump to $15 an hour would be more than double the federal minimum of $7.25 &mdash; a much higher increase than what economists have studied. It would also be far above the minimum wage&#39;s previous peak of just under $11, adjusted for inflation, in 1968.</p><p>McDonald&#39;s Corp., based in Oak Brook, Illinois, said in a statement Tuesday that wages at U.S. restaurants it owns increased $1 over the local minimum wage in July. The world&#39;s largest hamburger chain said the move affected more than 90,000 employees.</p><p>Rival Burger King, which is owned by Canada-based Restaurant Brands International Inc., said it supports &quot;the right to demonstrate and hope any demonstrators will respect the safety of our restaurant guests and employees.&quot; It also said it franchisees that own the restaurants make wage decisions, not the corporate company.</p><p>A representative from Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc., the company behind Taco Bell and KFC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 15:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fast-food-protesters-set-sights-presidential-candidates-113730 Morning Shift: Urban centers face big problems with transportation growth http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-03/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Cover.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An article in Salon argues that urban public transportation is doomed because politicians who could enact better policies don&#39;t use it. They drive or have drivers. How does metro Chicago&#39;s public transit fit into this theory? We discuss future train and bus expansion. (Flickr/Dan Klimke)</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Urban centers face big problems with transportation growth" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 08:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-03/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems Half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance to make ends meet http://www.wbez.org/news/half-fast-food-workers-rely-public-assistance-make-ends-meet-108929 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Fast Food Work_sh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid--8c1fdd9-be26-6d81-199a-a26e24b90e2c">Over 50 percent of frontline fast-food workers rely on some sort of public assistance to support their families. In Illinois, the price tag for that assistance is $368 million. Those statistics came out Tuesday in <a href="http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/publiccosts/fast_food_poverty_wages.pdf">a report </a>from University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois.</p><p dir="ltr">Devonte Yates works at a McDonald&rsquo;s in Milwaukee. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like [relying on food stamps],&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s something I have to do to eat at night. I work hard everyday. If it weren&rsquo;t for workers, these companies wouldn&rsquo;t thrive.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Jack Temple works at the National Employment Law Project, which released <a href="http://www.nelp.org/page/-/rtmw/uploads/NELP-Super-Sizing-Public-Costs-Fast-Food-Report.pdf?nocdn=1">a companion report.</a> That report showed that providing public assistance for workers at the 10 largest fast-food chains costs taxpayers $3.8 billion each year; public assistance costs for employees at McDonald&rsquo;s alone costs $1.2 billion annually.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;These companies operate on a business model that leaves low-paid workers unable to buy basic necessities and leaves taxpayers on the hook,&rdquo; said Temple.</p><p dir="ltr">In a written statement McDonald&rsquo;s said, &ldquo;The fact is that McDonald&rsquo;s and our independent franchisees provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of people across the country. As with most small businesses, wages are based on local wage laws and are competitive to similar jobs in that market.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The UC Berkeley and University of Illinois report looked at core workers, those employees working at least 10 hours a week and 26 weeks a year. The study found most of that group did not fit the fast-food worker stereotype of a teenager or student living at home.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;More than two-thirds of core, frontline fast-food workers across the country are over the age of 20, and 68 percent are the main wage earners in their families,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www.urban.uiuc.edu/faculty/doussard/">Marc Doussard,</a> one of the studies co-authors.</p><p dir="ltr">In response to the report, Scott DeFife of the National Restaurant Association said, &ldquo;These misleading efforts use a very narrow lens and selective data to attack the industry for their own purposes.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Slicing the data at a different angle, DeFife noted, &ldquo;40 percent of line staff workers in restaurants are students.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Tuesday&rsquo;s reports come after a year of walk outs at fast-food restaurants and retail stores across the country, including <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/low-wage-workers-walk-out-across-chicago-108255">this summer in Chicago. </a></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Tue, 15 Oct 2013 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/half-fast-food-workers-rely-public-assistance-make-ends-meet-108929 Morning Shift: The new fast food hype http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-27/morning-shift-new-fast-food-hype-108784 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/FastFood Flickr waferboard.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>From jingles to viral videos, we discuss the evolving world of fast-food marketing. Legendary comedian Tom Dreesen is in the studio to reminisce on hangin&#39; with the Rat Pack, and WBEZ&#39;s Alison Cuddy gives us a sneak peak at the Hyde Park Jazz Fest.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-130926/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-130926.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-130926" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The new fast food hype" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 27 Sep 2013 08:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-27/morning-shift-new-fast-food-hype-108784 Low-wage workers walk out across Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/low-wage-workers-walk-out-across-chicago-108255 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 9.16.14 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>Workers at dozens of national chains went on strike in Chicago&rsquo;s Loop today. It&rsquo;s the second day of demonstrations.</p><p>At 7 a.m. Thursday, two Subway employees walked out of their jobs to join cheering demonstrators. Additional staff say they won&rsquo;t show up for their shifts.</p><p>Amani Johnson says he&rsquo;s worked at Subway for six years and only makes $8.25.</p><p>&ldquo;There are things in life I want to do, like go back to school, which I can&rsquo;t afford at this time. I have two kids I have to feed and clothe. To stay at that same [wage], I deserve more,&rdquo; said Johnson.</p><p>Demonstrators will continue protesting at stores across Chicago&rsquo;s Loop, including Wendy&rsquo;s, Sally&rsquo;s Beauty Supply, McDonald&#39;s, Macy&rsquo;s, Nike, Victoria&rsquo;s Secret and more.</p><p>Striking workers say they want their wages raised to $15 an hour. In an emailed statement, the National Restaurant Association said a significant increase in the minimum wage would hurt the private sector&rsquo;s ability to create jobs. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/14/why-economists-are-so-puzzled-by-the-minimum-wage/">Economist are divided</a> over the issue of whether increased wages would actually impact employment, while strikers say it&rsquo;s a matter of a company&#39;s priorities.</p><p>Pay was not the only concern. Workers at the Halsted Whole Foods said they earned more than many fellow strikers, but called for an end to a policy they say punishes them for missing a day of work even if they are sick or attending a family funeral. They say the policy gives workers points for every absence, with six points resulting in dismissal. Management at the Whole Foods store declined to comment.</p><p>&ldquo;The reality is coming out of [college] right at the beginning of the economic crisis, I couldn&rsquo;t find a better job. A lot of us are stuck in this position,&rdquo; said Matthew Camp, 32, a member of the Workers Organizing Committee. &ldquo;The service industry is the fastest growing industry in the country right now.&rdquo;</p><p>The numbers support Camp&rsquo;s assessment, <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nelp.org%2Findex.php%2Fcontent%2Fcontent_about_us%2Ftracking_the_recovery_after_the_great_recession&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEUhRN5Lbcscg1kPBvX6YUcwM0ClQ">more than half of the jobs created during the economic recovery are low-wage</a>.</p><p>Some strikers said conditions have improved since the<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Fdowntown-walkout-higher-minimum-wage-shakes-chicago-businesses-106827&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHza_gl8klb8xdh_vihUlzKNqNX0Q"> first low-wage walkout earlier this year</a>. Many workers said the biggest benefit of the demonstrations has been that they now view their fellow workers as family.</p><p>Organisers say the demonstrations will culminate at 5pm at a McDonalds on Navy Pier.</p><p><br />Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">shannon_h</a></p></p> Thu, 01 Aug 2013 08:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/low-wage-workers-walk-out-across-chicago-108255 Morning Shift: Skipping vacation, and looking for higher wages http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-31/morning-shift-skipping-vacation-and-looking-higher <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Work-Flickr- Phil and Pam.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today we discuss several issues affecting American workers. Fast food workers are striking to get an increase in pay and Latinas in the workforce are on the rise-we look at why. Also, are you scared to take a vacation because your job might not be there when you get back?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-32.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-32" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Skipping vacation, and looking for higher wages " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 31 Jul 2013 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-31/morning-shift-skipping-vacation-and-looking-higher Downtown walkout for higher minimum wage shakes up Chicago businesses http://www.wbez.org/news/downtown-walkout-higher-minimum-wage-shakes-chicago-businesses-106827 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/minwage1.jpg" title="Protesters stopped outside a Nike store on Michigan Avenue. They’re calling for downtown workers to make a 5 minimum. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89347637&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>A group of fast food and retail workers in downtown Chicago staged a protest and walkout Wednesday to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour for all downtown workers. Beginning very early in the morning, the roving protest grew in size as it made noise in front of stores including Macy&rsquo;s, Nordstrom Rack, Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts and McDonald&rsquo;s.</p><p dir="ltr">Felix Mendez said he changed out of his uniform and into a red shirt and walked out of his job at Subway early Wednesday morning.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Every two weeks my check is less than $500,&rdquo; he said. In two years at Subway he said he&rsquo;s never gotten a raise, and he and his family recently had to move because they couldn&rsquo;t pay rent. He lives with his girlfriend, who&rsquo;s a teacher, and his two kids. &ldquo;We make it, but it would be nice not to have to struggle, just to live comfortable live everybody else.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/minwage2.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Amani Johnson says he’s worked at Subway for six years and walked out because he still barely makes enough to get by. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" />Managers at Mendez&rsquo;s Subway didn&rsquo;t want to comment. But another Subway manager whose employees walked out said he&rsquo;d support a higher state minimum wage.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Why not?&rdquo; said Subway manager Firoj Ali. But he said Subway won&rsquo;t be the one to set that new minimum. &ldquo;The franchise is not going to decide minimum wage.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I have to go paycheck by paycheck struggling,&rdquo; said Amani Johnson, who works at the same Subway. The 26-year-old has two young children, and he&rsquo;s been at Subway for six years. &ldquo;Why be greedy and keep the money to yourself when you could be helping many others out here that are struggling?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this year in his State of the State address, Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn voiced his support for raising the state minimum above $8.25. But lawmakers have not yet addressed legislation this session. The last change in the state minimum wage was in 2010.</p><p dir="ltr">A <a href="http://www.nelp.org/page/-/Job_Creation/LowWageRecovery2012.pdf?nocdn=1">study by the National Employment Law Project</a> shows that since the economic crash in 2008, the growth of low-wage jobs has far outpaced mid- and high-wage jobs.</p><p dir="ltr">The group behind Wednesday&rsquo;s protest, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC), wants downtown businesses to raise pay on their own rather than waiting for a change in laws. The WOCC is using a protest strategy that has also been gaining some traction <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-04-24/afternoon-shift-labor-pains-106821">with fast food workers in New York City</a>: getting workers to go out on &ldquo;strike&rdquo; without officially forming a union. But Wednesday&rsquo;s demonstration was more a walkout than a strike; workers said they will be back on the job Thursday.</p><p><em>Lewis Wallace is a Pritzker Journalism Fellow at WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/lewispants">@lewispants</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 16:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/downtown-walkout-higher-minimum-wage-shakes-chicago-businesses-106827 Fast food and retail workers march on the Magnificent Mile http://www.wbez.org/news/fast-food-and-retail-workers-march-magnificent-mile-104377 <p><p>A worker advocacy group is asking downtown businesses to pay their employees at least $15 an hour.</p><p>Over 100 people marched on Chicago&rsquo;s Magnificent Mile Thursday to protest low wages for retail and fast food workers as a part of the&nbsp;<a href="http://fightfor15.org/2012/12/07/growing-and-standing-together/" target="_blank">Fight For 15 Campaign</a>, a new project of the&nbsp;Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;I literally live paycheck to paycheck, like right now I have a dollar and thirty-six cent in my bank account,&rdquo; said Kenyanna Brown. She works at Victoria&rsquo;s Secret in Watertower Place for $8.75 an hour; Illinois&rsquo; current minimum wage is $8.25. &ldquo;If I didn&rsquo;t live with my mom I&rsquo;d be on the streets, I wouldn&rsquo;t be able to provide for myself.&rdquo;</p><p>Protesters delivered a letter to the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, a downtown business group, and asked for a response by Dec. 22.</p><p>Brown said she was part of the small group who launched the campaign last month. The committee is&nbsp;affiliated with the community organization Action Now, and many who attended the protest wore Service Employees International Union (SEIU) shirts and hats. Protesters represented their home neighborhoods with large canvas signs.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6818_025-scr.JPG" style="height: 210px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Kenyanna Brown spoke at the rally. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p><a href="http://www.nelp.org/page/-/Job_Creation/LowWageRecovery2012.pdf?nocdn=1" target="_blank">A recent study</a> by the National Employment Law Project says that although only 21 percent of jobs lost in the recession were in low-wage occupations, jobs paying less that $13.84 per hour account for 58 percent of new positions created since 2008. Of those new low-wage jobs, the sectors with the most growth are retail sales and food preparation.</p><p>And more low-wage workers in Chicago are above the age of 30 or supporting a whole household, according to <a href="http://standupchicago.org/files/2012/12/Final-Low-Wage-Report.pdf" target="_blank">a study affiliated with the campaign</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that there&rsquo;s a misconception of the people that do work for minimum wage,&rdquo; said Amie Crawford, another organizer. She&rsquo;s 56 and works at downtown health-food store Protein Bar after struggling to find work in her profession as an interior designer. &ldquo;I feel that they - we - are dismissed because we&rsquo;re high school kids or we&rsquo;re retired people that just want extra money...that&rsquo;s not true.&rdquo;</p><p>Fight For 15 has links to a similar effort in New York that organized a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/nyregion/drive-to-unionize-fast-food-workers-opens-in-ny.html?ref=nyregion" target="_blank">fast food worker walk-out</a> in November.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 20:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fast-food-and-retail-workers-march-magnificent-mile-104377 Taco Bell Enlists Superheroes To Bite Back At Beef Lawsuit http://www.wbez.org/story/business/taco-bell-enlists-superheroes-bite-back-beef-lawsuit <p><p>Here's something you don't see every day from a food company: A spirited defense of its products using a spoof of a Saturday morning superhero cartoon.</p><p>Can you resist rooting for the Super Delicious Ingredient Force in its quest to defeat Baron von Bland?</p><p>Read More</p><p>The push comes in response to a class action suit filed last week by an Alabama law firm, alleging that Taco Bell is <a href="http://www.beasleyallen.com/news/Beasley-Allen-files-lawsuit-against-Taco-Bell-on-behalf-of-all-consumers/">playing a little loose</a> with its claims about its seasoned beef taco filling.</p><p>The suit alleges that most of the filling does not meet USDA standards to be called beef because most of it includes stuff other than beef — like oats and seasonings and fillers.</p><p>Taco Bell says its beef is 100 percent USDA inspected, and that its recipe is 88 percent beef, 12 percent "secret recipe."</p><p>The company is also launching a "<a href="http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2011/taco_bell/beef_grade/pages/gallery.html">Thanks for suing us</a>" full-page ad explaining just what is in its secret recipe for seasoned ground beef.</p><p>The ad reveals the ingrediens include water, Mexican spices, onion powder, salt, oats, caramelized sugar, cocoa powder and "other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency and quality of our seasoned beef."</p><p>Why add things to the beef? "Otherwise we'd end up with nothing more than the bland flavor of ground beef, and that doesn't make for great-tasting tacos," Taco Bell's ad says.</p><p>The bottom line is — we don't really know that much about what makes our food taste good —and maybe we should take a closer look. Remember <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/01/20/133089144/fake-blueberries-often-masquerade-as-real-fruit">Blueberrygate</a>?</p><p>A tip of the hat to the company for having a little fun with its response, but food scientists, whip out your test kits. This one's gonna require a little analysis. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1296252437?&gn=Taco+Bell+Enlists+Superheroes+To+Bite+Back+At+Beef+Lawsuit&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Taco+Bell,fast+food,Fitness+%26+Nutrition,Your+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Commentary,Opinion,Food,Business,U.S.,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133307209&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110128&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133310905,129605773,126567887,126567525,103537970,132783213,127088100,17000763,14810166,133299494,127602855,127602331,125944306,103943429,127747535,127602855,127602331,126944584,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Fri, 28 Jan 2011 15:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/taco-bell-enlists-superheroes-bite-back-beef-lawsuit