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‘Where’s the beef?’: Taco Bell faces $5 million lawsuit for deceptive advertising

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This representational picture shows beef tacos lined up. — Unsplash/File
This representational picture shows beef tacos lined up. — Unsplash/File

A disgruntled New Yorker called Frank Siragusa has sued Taco Bell for deceptive advertising in a court action initiated against the fast food chain, according to AFP.

Siragusa claimed that the amount of meat and bean filling in the Mexican Pizza he bought in September of the previous year was less than half of what was represented in the marketing.

The plaintiff contends that if he had known about the diminished filling, he would not have paid the $5.49 price for the item in the class action case filed on Monday in the Eastern District of New York.

As a result, Siragusa is suing the fast food giant for more than $5 million in damages, claiming “unfair and deceptive trade practises.”

In the Mexican pizza, seasoned beef and refried beans are sandwiched between two pizza shells, with sauce, cheese, and tomatoes on top with guacamole and chicken also available as add-ons.

Siragusa brought the lawsuit on behalf of himself and other consumers who shared his disappointment with certain products, such as Taco Bell’s well-known Crunchwraps.

The court filing juxtaposes photos of food taken from the chain’s website with photos of the “actual” item that customers say they received.

The restaurant’s images show brightly coloured meat, cheese and salad oozing out of tightly packed tacos. The customers’ photos show duller food looking rather sad and limp.

The lawsuit claims the adverts are “unfair and financially damaging to consumers as they are receiving a product that is materially lower in value than what is being promised.”

“Taco Bell’s actions are especially concerning now that inflation, food, and meat prices are very high and many consumers, especially lower-income consumers, are struggling financially,” it adds.

The suit includes links to media articles making similar claims about Taco Bell’s portions.

In one, published in the US edition of The Sun last September, a journalist wrote that the Mexican Pizza “wasn’t as beefy as the commercial pictures made it look.”

A spokesperson for Taco Bell did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

According to Reuters, the other lawyer, Anthony Russo, filed a similar case last year in Miami against Burger King over its Whoppers. That lawsuit went to mediation, where it reached an impasse.

“Taco Bell does not adequately disclose the weight of the beef or filling,” Russo said in an email. “Plaintiff did not make any purchases of the product based on any weight disclosure but solely based on the picture of the product, as we believe most consumers do.”

The case is Siragusa v Taco Bell Corp, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 23-05748.

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