Taco Bell reveals secret ingredients of its mystery beef. Are they linked to cancer?

Apr 10, 2018
06:19 A.M.
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The ‘mystery’ ingredients are finally revealed by the fast-food company.


The Hearty Soul reported that Taco Bell grabbed headlines after a lawsuit was filed against the company in 2011.

The lawsuit claimed that the meat served by the fast-food chain was only 35% beef. 

The company chose to respond to these accusations by stating that the meat served was actually 88% beef and the other 12% was their ‘secret recipe.’

Now, Taco Bell has released the list of ingredients that make up the secret recipe of their signature beef.

The lawsuit was dropped later but it led to further media attention. There was also mounting public pressure to find out the ingredients of the secret recipe.


The company released the list in a statement on their website, however, it was later removed.

The more shocking discovery is that many of their previously ‘secret’ ingredients are linked to a variety of side effects and health conditions.

Here is the list of Taco Bell’s ingredients that make up the 12% of their recipe.


This is used to season beef.

Soy Lecithin

This is used to retain moisture. In general, soy products have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women. 


According to reports, soy lecithin causes side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Source: Freepik

Citric acid

Used for additional flavoring, citric acid has been linked to kidney damage and heart disease. It also has several side effects such as numbness, muscle pain, twitches, bloody stool, seizures, and dizziness.


It is used to maintain shape and form and also as a filler in food products. When it passes through the gastrointestinal tract, it is not absorbed and can sometimes cause digestive problems such as gas and bloat.

Torula yeast

This is a form of yeast used to add flavor. It is linked to a variety of adverse reactions such as headaches, chest pain, rapid heartbreak, and shortness of breath.


It can cause allergic reactions resulting in hives, rashes, congestion, swelling of the face and difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

Modified corn starch

This genetically modified product is used as a thickener and helps retain moisture of the meat.

Artificial flavor

This has been linked to hyperactive behavior in children and is used only to enhance the taste.

Sodium phosphates

Used to preserve the texture of beef, it could cause damage to the kidneys and heart. 


It can also cause side effects such as abdominal cramps, nausea, dehydration, and diarrhea.

Source: Freepik

Lactic acid

It is used to increase the acidic flavor in food items. 

Though this is not harmful to adults, it can cause digestive problems in children. 

Caramel color

Used for coloring, it contains the chemical 4-methylimidazole which, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is a carcinogen.


This is a sweetener used to improve the taste of the beef.

Potassium chloride


Used as a substitute for salt, it is said to cause nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and heartburn. Experts also believe that it causes bleeding of the upper gastrointestinal tract.


Another sweetener, it promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and increases the risk of developing inflammatory diseases.

Side effects include allergic reaction, unexplained weight gain, bloating, and flatulence.