Taco Bell reveals its mystery beef ingredients

Have you ever wondered what's in Taco Bell beef? The company admits that its product is only 88 percent beef. 

According to Taco Bell's website, the company says that the mystery ingredients of the remaining 12 percent have "weird names" but they're "all safe and approved by the FDA," ABC News reports.

"Each ingredient helps make our Seasoned Beef taste great. Many of them are items you might use at home such as salt, peppers, and spices. Ingredients like oats and sodium phosphates help make sure the texture is right," Taco Bell officials said.

The company also said it uses only USDA-inspected, "100 percent premium real beef" and no monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which is a flavor enhancer.

"We believe it's important that consumers make informed decisions about what they eat, and so for many years have provided details of our ingredients on our website," Rob Poetsch, Taco Bell spokesman, told ABCNews.com.

Here are some of the ingredients and what Taco Bell has to say about them:

1. MALTODEXTRIN
"It sounds weird, but it's actually a form of mildly sweet sugar we use to balance the flavor. You may have had it the last time you had a natural soda."

2. TORULA YEAST
"This is a form of yeast that gives our seasoned beef a more savory taste."

3. MODIFIED CORN STARCH
"Actually, it's derived from corn, which is a food staple in Mexican culture as well as many others. We use a small amount as a thickener and to maintain moisture in our seasoned beef. It's common in many foods like yogurt."

4. SOY LECITHIN
"When you prepare as much seasoned beef as we do, you don't want it to separate. That's what soy lecithin does. It helps (with moisture) to bind substances that would otherwise separate -- like oil and water. It's a common ingredient in many grocery staples, like chocolate bars and salad dressings."

5. SODIUM PHOSPHATES
Taco Bell says it uses this "to help make sure our seasoned beef is the right texture."
"They're also commonly found in deli items, cheeses, coffee drinks and desserts."

6. LACTIC ACID
"This safe acid occurs in almost all living things, and we use a very small amount to manage the acidity to get the right flavor."

7. CARAMEL COLOR AND COCOA POWDER
Taco Bell says the caramel color "is caramelized sugar, which is a commonly used food coloring (also found in cereals and pancake syrup). Cocoa Powder doesn't add any flavor to our recipe, but it helps our seasoned beef maintain a rich color."

8. TREHALOSE
"It's a naturally occurring sugar that we use to improve the taste of our seasoned beef."

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