Unveiling the Truth: Is Taco Bell’s Meat Really Dehydrated?

Have you ever wondered what dehydrated meat is? You may have heard about it in the news lately due to a controversy regarding Taco Bell’s meat. In this article, we’ll explore what dehydrated meat is, discuss the Taco Bell controversy, and clear up some common misconceptions surrounding dehydrated meat.

Dehydrated meat is essentially dried out meat that has had its moisture removed through a process known as dehydration. This makes the meat lighter and easier to transport, store, and use. However, there are concerns about the nutritional value of dehydrated meats.

Taco Bell came under fire when their “seasoned beef” was found to contain only 36% actual beef while the rest was fillers and other ingredients. One theory suggested that they were using dehydrated meat which caused outrage among customers.

However, Taco Bell officially released a statement denying these claims and stating that they do not use any dehydrated ingredients in their menu items. This misinformation highlights some of the misconceptions people have about dehydrated meats.

What is Dehydrated Meat?

Dehydrated meat, also known as jerky, is a type of meat that has been dried and stripped of all its moisture content. This preservation method makes the jerky last longer and can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration.

How it’s made

The process involved in making dehydrated meat involves cutting thinly sliced strips of beef, chicken, or turkey before marinating them with salt and other condiments such as garlic, soy sauce or chili powder for flavoring.

The marinated meat strips are then placed in a dehydrator or an oven set at low temperature (150-170 Fahrenheit) to dry out slowly alternatively exposed to warm air using fans. The drying process takes several hours depending on the thickness of the meat.


  • Packed with nutrients: Dehydrating meats helps preserve their nutritional value such as protein and iron while eliminating excess fat content meaning this foodstuff can be healthy when enjoyed in moderation.
  • Sustaining hunger: Snacks like jerky tend to keep you full due to high protein content helping you eat less later on.
  • Avoid wasting food: Utilizing dehydration techniques prolongs shelf life reducing food wastage giving opportunity to consume things later rather than just spoiling.


  • Sodium Content: Jerky often include lots of salt during preparation which could lead towards sodium-intolerant people suffer ill-effects.

  • (Note that some brands offer lower sodium options – check brand labels. )
  • Caloric Density: Although rich in protein, Dehydrated meat is dense and high-calorie content thus careful moderation is key.
  • Potential Bacterial Growth: Inappropriate curing methods could lead to bacterial growth posing health risks to consumers.

The Taco Bell Controversy

Taco Bell, a popular fast-food chain, faced controversy surrounding the quality of their meat in 2011. Several claims were made by consumers and the media regarding the content of their beef.

Claims Made by Consumers and Media

  • One controversy was that Taco Bell’s meat was only 35% beef while the rest was fillers like oats.
  • Another claim was that it contained excessive amounts of fat and sodium, making it unhealthy for consumption.
  • Others accused Taco Bell of using grade-D meat or even horse meat in their products.

These claims sparked outrage among some consumers who felt they had been misled about the quality of ingredients in Taco Bell’s food.

Taco Bell’s Response

Taco Bell quickly responded to these allegations by posting advertisements in major newspapers stating that their beef contained 88% premium ground beef and 12% “signature recipe. “

The company also launched an advertising campaign to assure customers about the quality of their ingredients by showcasing real workers at one of their suppliers cooking up batches of “seasoned beef. ” They even went so far as to provide detailed information about each ingredient used on their website.

In response to this publicity campaign, many customers were satisfied with Taco Bell’s assurances and returned to eating there. However, some remained wary about the actual content used in its recipes despite Taco Bell’s efforts to improve transparency on its site.

Is Taco Bell’s Meat Really Dehydrated?

Many people wonder if Taco Bell’s meat is really dehydrated due to various rumors and myths. In this section, we’ll examine the preparation process of Taco Bell’s meat, analyze the ingredients used, get expert opinions from meat industry professionals, and compare it with other fast food chains.

Preparation Process

  • The ground beef used in Taco Bell’s products arrives frozen at their restaurants.
  • The beef is then placed on a flat-top grill and cooked with added water to help break down the fat content.
  • Once cooked, the beef is drained of any excess liquid before being seasoned with a blend of spices and flavors including onion powder, salt, chili pepper, soy lecithin, maltodextrin and cocoa powder for color.

Ingredients Analysis

Taco Bell uses 100% USDA-inspected premium real beef in its products which contains no filler or extenders. However some skeptics still question what makes up the remaining 88% after cooking as stated by an independent lab tests that were funded by one PR group against TBell way back in 2011 found that “35 % was actually soy-based additives. “

Expert Opinion

To shed more light into these rumors around taco bell beef test results can vary widely depending on many factors like freshness testing conditions etc., but there aren’t solid reasons yet for anyone worrying about eating fake meat or dehydrated meats. According to meat industry professionals like Mike Gangel Feedlot consultant at VIral First Marketing Group “TB use traditional methods for sourcing their meat. “. Judy Doherty Founder of What’s Cooking With Kids also agreed saying “Taco Bells product uses real beef. ”.

Comparison with Other Fast Food Chains

Taco Bell’s preparation process of cooking its beef on a flat-top grill with added water is quite similar to other fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A. Ingredients-wise too competitors have also faced the same suspicions about their products being dehydrated or containing fillers. However, Taco Bell makes sure its beef is 100% USDA inspected without any fillers or extenders unlike some of these fast food chains.

Misconceptions About Dehydrated Meat

Common Misconceptions About Dehydrated Meat

Dehydrated meat, also known as jerky, has been a popular snack for centuries. However, there are many misconceptions about this tasty treat that cause people to avoid it altogether. Here are a few common misconceptions:

  • Dehydrated meat is not safe to eat: One of the most prevalent beliefs is that dehydrated meat is not safe to eat because it is dried and lacks moisture. This misconception arises from the belief that harmful bacteria will grow on the surface of the jerky if it’s not cooked properly.
  • Dehydrated meat is too tough and hard: Some people think that jerky is too tough and hard, making it difficult to chew.
  • Processed dehydrated meat contains additives: Many people believe that processed dehydrated meats contain additives, such as chemicals or MSG, which can be harmful to their health.

Debunking Myths About The Safety And Quality Of Dehydrated Meat

While these concerns may seem valid at first glance, they are mostly unfounded when you consider all available information about dehydrating food.

  • The safety of dehydrated meat: Properly dried and stored jerky can last for months without refrigeration due to low water content. While care must be taken in preparing it correctly to ensure its safety, just like any other food preparation method (such as cooking), when done correctly and hygienically there should be no issues with consuming this classic snack.
  • The texture of dehydrated meats: Jerky lovers appreciate the chewiness of dehydrated meat. It is meant to be tough and ready-to-eat in all kinds of situations. That being said, softer jerky can be made at home by marinating meats before dehydration or organic brands might have different textures that do not fall under this myth.
  • The additives in dehydrated meat: Some cheaper meat snacks may contain various preservatives or fillers including MSG, but these are not common among reputable brands. Also for those with allergies, there are generally more gluten free and soy free options because jerky traditionally contains neither.

In conclusion, drying out beef or other meats into jerky is a long-standing culinary process that can have delicious results. Don’t let misconceptions prevent you from appreciating its savory flavor and convenience today!


In conclusion, understanding what exactly dehydrated meats are can help clarify some of the confusion around them. While there may be concerns about how nutritious they are compared to fresh meats, it’s important not to make assumptions or jump to conclusions based on rumors or misinformation.


Is all jerky considered dehydrated meat?

Yes! Jerky is one of many forms of dehydrated meats that can be made from different kinds of animal proteins.

Why would companies want to use dehydrated meats?

Dehydration allows for preservation without chemicals or artificial preservatives which can extend shelf life while also making storage more efficient.

Are there health risks associated with consuming too much processed or dehydrated foods?

Some studies suggest a link between an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease with high levels of processed meats, so it’s always best to consume these kinds of foods in moderation.

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