The mystery ended Tuesday as the fast-food chain came clean about the secret ingredients which the company says are all “completely safe and approved by the FDA.”
“They do have weird names,” Taco Bell wrote on its website, ”perfect for tongue twisters!…They’re common ingredients also found in food items at your grocery store.”
As a public service, we’re happy to present the complete list, as if any of you pochos go to Taco Bell at all:
Taco Bell: 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
Taco Bell: This is a form of yeast that gives our seasoned beef a more savory taste.
3. MODIFIED CORN STARCH
Taco Bell: 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
Taco Bell: 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: Well, we use them 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
Taco Bell: 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: 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.
Taco Bell: It’s a naturally occurring sugar that we use to improve the taste of our seasoned beef.
[Editor’s Note: NOT INCLUDED ON THE LIST: Shredded little plastic salsa packets, traces of cultural appropriation.]