New York (CNN Business)

Taco Bell is eliminating five more menu items, marking the second time in less than three months that it overhauled its selection.

Beginning November 5, Taco Bell will be dropping Mexican Pizza, pico de gallo and shredded chicken from the menu. Taco Bell assured fans on Thursday that this is the final time this year that it will change its menu, and the removals will "make room for new innovations."

Last month, Taco Bell got rid of about dozen items including the 7-Layer Burrito, Nachos Supreme and the Beefy Fritos Burrito. The company explained in July that this was necessary to “create a more efficient Taco Bell experience" during the pandemic. 

Several restaurants, including McDonald's (MCD), have eliminated a number of items as a way to shed complexities and costs, and push simpler or more popular items at a time when conserving cash is crucial for restaurant operators.

As for the latest round of changes, Taco Bell claimed there were several other reasons why it's saying adios to the five items. Getting rid of the Mexican Pizza, for example, is part of the company's eco-friendly commitment: Packaging for the item amounts to more than 7 million pounds of paperboard per year. 

It's replacing pico de gallo with diced tomatoes. The removal of shredded chicken means three chicken items — shredded chicken soft taco, shredded chicken burrito, and shredded chicken quesadilla melt — will disappear in the fall. In their place, Taco Bell will add a tropical iced drink, Dragonfruit Freeze, and a chicken chipotle melt. 

Taco Bell, owned by Yum! Brands (YUM), last month said many of its restaurants will be completely overhauled. It’s newest design emphasizes the drive-thru and limits human interaction, making it more suitable for the coronavirus era.

TRANSLATION:  Some of their items didn’t sell and even those who eat cheap food didn’t buy it… and it was crap anyway.

Bad Year Last Year
(CNN)About 2 million pounds of seasoned beef used in Taco Bell burritos and tacos have been removed from restaurant locations across the country.  Kenosha Beef International recalled the products over concerns that they may be contaminated with metal shavings, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a news release.

The bags of meat were shipped from the supplier to five distribution centers and then to restaurant locations across the country, the USDA said.   The restaurant chain announced Tuesday it had voluntarily recalled about 2.3 million pounds of seasoned beef. By Monday, 100% of the product had been removed from all restaurants across 21 states, a Taco bell news release said. 

Some Taco Bell restaurants face tortilla shortages.  "Nothing is more important than our customers' safety, and nothing means more to us than their trust," Julie Masino, president of North America, Taco Bell Corp. "As soon as we received the first consumer complaint, we immediately acted to remove the product from the affected restaurants and proactively worked with the supplier to inform the USDA of our steps to protect our guests."

The beef products were produced from September 20 to October 4, the USDA said.   There have been no confirmed reports of reactions from the products, the department said, adding "anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider."

Officials discovered the problem after a customer complained of having found a metal shaving in their food, the food chain's news release said. 

"To ensure the safety of our guests, the company immediately partnered with the supplier to shut down the supply chain, remove the product from restaurants and distribution centers and notify the USDA," the release said.

The recall comes a few months after Taco Bell announced it was experiencing supplier shortages of tortillas and was "working diligently to replenish the supply."

👺  07/17/2017  CLEARWATER, Fla. -   If you’re in the mood for a quick meal of tacos, burritos, or quesadillas, you might head over to a Taco Bell but one location had some extra ingredients you’d never want to ingest.  Action News anchor Wendy Ryan spoke to Taco Bell’s manager on duty, Casey, who directed her to call 1-800 Taco Bell, which takes customer’s complaints. She also called the owner of Jem Restaurant Group but they had no comment either.   It rates the 3C’s on the report card  CHEAP, CRAP AND CORPORATE!


Finally in 2011,  a class action lawsuit has been brought to bear in Alabama accusing Taco Bell of not meeting Federal regulations for food content. So the question was asked according to a class action lawsuit filed by the Beasley Allen law firm out of Montgomery, Alabama. It is a simple question.  

What is in that Taco, Chulupa, Fartita, Belcheros and other ridiculous names that no respecting Mexicano can figure out ?   One thing for sure, it's certainly not in Taco Bell's "taco meat filling. The lawsuit claims "The "seasoned ground beef" contains less than 35 percent beef.  

The other 65 percent of the meat-like mixture is: water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin, soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2% of beef broth, potassium phosphate and potassium lactate, caramel color and natural smoke flavor added.

Taco Bell President Greg Creed said,  "Taco Bell's seasoned beef is 100 percent USDA-inspected beef simmered with our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture."  Impressive statement but based on actual field testing in several locations,  and the fact that its beef never looked any better than a diaper streak on a burrito, who cares, we stand on our comments, bad food, bad quality, bad value and health risks.  You would be better off elsewhere.

My partner chomped in…She translated that as a huge meat grinder about the size of a house and they throw the whole cow into it to grind up for tacos. It doesn’t state what parts of the cow are used.  


They got hit with a lot of bad publicity last year and you wonder if they paid attention.  You would think shutting down 90 stores would get your attention. Obviously they didn’t.  

It  appears that "Yo tengo TACO Bell" might get changed to "You'll Tango from Taco Hell" dancing to the nearest bathroom.  An assessment might not be fair during the investigation of 90 of their restaurants in the northeast. 

They were shut down for E.COLI problems and the lettuce initially got blamed. So most folks were cautious about the lettuce and   three times, I watched folks pulling the lettuce out of the sandwiches, so we backed off and let the petri dishes clear before we went back. They should of looked at the jalopeno, and cilantro.  Lettuce took the fall. It was the other guys.

And soon after as if bad news comes in bunches, the beat goes on. The TACO Bell in the center of the universe, Manhattan, NYC was filmed with surveillance cameras with mice and rats (over 100) scurrying throughout the place before opening one day after they passed their inspection by the NYC health department. 

I guess as the inspector (s) were walking around with their thermometers he missed the rat excrement.  As I have said before those certificates on the wall mean nothing, It's the integrity of the chain. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone mispronounced Burrito as "Bur-rat-toe" and actually got what they asked for!

And there is that little problem of the civil disabilities act which is now a class action suit with many of their locations in violations of aid for the physically impaired.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washington State Department of Health confirmed yesterday that food served at Taco Bell restaurants is the cause of the Salmonella strains Hartford and Baildon.  The chain has just been linked to at least 155 cases of salmonella in 21 states. The rare Hartford and Baildon strands of salmonella cause a veritable five-layer burrito of diarrhea, cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. 

A state spokesperson from Kentucky told food alert that suspect cases are still under investigation.  Eleven of the 28 Kentucky Salmonella outbreak victims were hospitalized.  The CDC reported yesterday that although the restaurant has been implicated as the source of the Salmonella outbreak, a particular food item or supplier has not been identified.  An extensive traceback effort was initiated to determine if a common source of Salmonella Hartford or Baildon could be identified but was unsuccessful in determining where the bacteria came from. 

Three times, in one location, five locations total, five trips, same habits, same employee "e-spit de corpse"  and we have concluded that they are their own worst problem.  I was in  a rush to get to the beach last night for some sundown pictures, the clouds and the red sky with the sun peaking through are dramatic here after a 93 degree day and make beautiful shots.

We stopped en-route to Clearwater Beach, at a TACO Bell - KFC combined confusion store, located at 1648 S. Missouri in Clearwater.  It is our policy to name the places and locations because chains are connected and bad links ruin the image for the entire chain. You go to a chain as an assurance of quality control. Bad stores and bad managers should not hurt the diligent owners and managers. They can also be systemic of bad store and bad district management.  

This was the second trip to this store and I had suspicions of well, chaos. Not prejudging but they have a store layout problem. The pricing is right in front of the cashiers. Nobody knows what they want, their signage is horrifically confusing. So you have to decipher what you want and what you might get.  Their floors were tacky or greasy, like some mopping would help to break the grease from all the fryers.  The manager, a young fellow was belching orders and screaming at the staff.  Why, they had no customers to speak off.  Obviously everyone local knew this was a bad place.

First impression struck me odd, it was dinnertime and the place is empty, with only three seated customers in the entire place, so they were not busy.   The tables, three of them were filthy, food droppings and obviously not wiped down. An employee, on break, heavily engrossed in smoking two cigarettes, not missing a breath was oblivious.

The cashier was pleasant, but gave the impression the clock wasn't moving fast enough. I apologized for my lack of knowledge in the Mexicano Culinary Encryption  department. They are their own worst enemy. They need to police their franchises and stores. Simplify their menu and make the food better. 

The food came fast, almost too fast and I noticed a few things I wondered about like gloves and food handling.  It was their new Cantina Meat and Chicken soft Taco. Two of the new Cantina Meat Tacos sharing one piece of lime, and one Cantina Chicken Taco, with a piece of lime, and drinks.  

Supposedly, these are soft Tacos (actually Tortillas) with meat, onion, cilantro and something else on it I can't describe and the meat was mysteriously absent, totally unlike the picture. The description of what I received would be best served by a forensics lab. I was tempted to "bag it, Dano" and off to forensics.

The tortillas had split, and disintegrated. The edges cracked all around like undercooked and they were served in tin foil but were not hot.  They were minuscule in size and totally unlike the picture.  Two bites at best, so when they flopped open, gravity did it, the inside "looked like the tracks on a baby's diaper". Thats all it had. You could barely see a streak of fine chopped onion, some green cilantro and a bunch of really dark, remnants, not quite quarter inch pieces of "meat"?,  I am being kind, my lady friend after consultation described it simply, "well, it looks like rat excrement".  Coming from a family with a history in the veterinary business, she knows. It was despicable.

One  bite was  enough, I discreetly spit it out, wrapped it up, pitched it  and went back to the counter and ordered a Burrito Supreme to see if this is a management problem or training error.

One of the employees drew my attention, bellowing loud enough to be heard out front, we heard him, the manager kid, and we were seated halfway to the front door yelling "he needs more help" and other unintelligible motivational sentences.  I joked with the cashier and said who is that? She said; He's a manager. Yea and I'm a "food critic". She laughed, thought it was funny.

This is not leadership, this is not training, this is bellowing. The only busy part of the operation was the two cars in the drive thru. Then the guy on break who had finished his second cigarette came out of the ether, he seemed distant and totally unconnected to the operation and the problem in the kitchen. He asked "you need help"...like the kind Custer got at the Big Horn. He was not the 7th Cavalry.   

👺  01/12/2011 ANOTHER DISASTER
I had just made my run to Tampa International's postal hub at the airport to rush a few packages and it was a long day and I just wanted some food on the way back.  I stopped at Taco Bell.  The service was fine, even if you can't read the menus. The food terrible, the lettuce was ice cold and the barely visible meat (was that meat?) got cold too. Frankly, I would call the Chalupa a soft bread sandwich with a diaper streak of meat substance smothered in frozen Iceberg lettuce needing four Hot Sauce packets for taste. 

Other than a guy taking his clothes on and off in the dining area, being ignored by the staff,  this store is located just off the intersection of East Bay Drive and US 19.  We have pan handling laws in many of our cities here and this intersection is in the county, not the city so it has a following of homeless people who are trying to survive the cold. It's been in the thirties at night. I offered to drive him down to the shelter, but they don't trust shelters....

Back to the food, nothing has changed, they are hereby removed from the list since we have not seen any improvements. So once again I can't really find anything nice about this place, the corporation or the food. It is inferior. 

I should have thrown back this meal. That would be a giveaway. The prep guy was gloveless, bare handing the food, then dishing out the meals.  No gloves? Handholding the Tacos and Tortillas for the drive in, while working over the hot prep station. The red shirt Manager (front end?) made mine and I could not see if she had gloves on. Nothing like handling everybody's money and then handling food.  In the past we have had the following problem with them, letting the meat sit in heat trays for hours uncovered. They need to start a fresh campaign of re-training their staffs in the art of cleanliness, and perhaps get a factory crew in there to restore processes and customer satisfaction.  

And put fresh products like meat, on and in the Tortillas and Burritos in something more than a smear. It was a joke. The best thing I like about Taco Bell after five tries is their hot sauces and at least they come pre-packaged and I can buy them in Publix.  I have Mexican friends and they have no idea what half the food served there is. Our maintenance guy, Juan, refereed to it as Gringo Stuff.

You would think being at a mall would improve things as he competition is all around you and malls take complaints fairly seriously.  I ordered two supreme burritos which had the dubious honor of falling apart before they even got halfway through. Fortunately they gave us forks when asked , napkins when asked and their sauce… when asked.  If the tortilla shell had been cooked a little longer and stiffer it might have stayed together.  The average age of the employees there (which is a clue in any place) didn't look old enough to drive let alone vote, and I think this is the mentality of the company, cheap food , low prices, unskilled help just droids….

Only in an emergency, a convenience stop, starvation, not serious eating, order only the fastest moving most popular items so they are fresher. Stick with Burritos and Tacos. The style and processes they use need some re-thinking.  

This is a large chain with 5600 stores. I will avoid them in the future till they clean up their act. I would pay a dollar or so more, wait two minutes longer, to get good food rather than what they are putting out. I wrote them and never got a reply about issues with this and their other stores. Thats the real rub when a corporation ignores you. Sometimes the minute you walk in to an establishment, you get a feeling it's not clean...go elsewhere.

The KFC's in particular, as we noticed in several locations are grease pits. The whole place feels greasy, maybe the combo of the Old Southern Style Chicken, obviously the older chicken in the tacos, and all that frying oil is a bad combo as one chain in these dual stores gets the blame for the other.  But it does indicate a lack of proper cleaning, an idiot can figure that one out.  Management problem, not using his staff correctly.

I needed a bulldozer to dig up an email direct to the corporation, first you got to find them, find out the will not take a direct email and you go through their process as to age etc. Then you fill the questionnaire, and then just sort of forget it, they get enough complaints...  When I googled Taco Bell Complaints the board lit up.

In an instant turn around, probably by "corporate dictum"  and an eMail reeking of fear, TACKY BELL has gone on the offensive with blistering hot commercials written by Madison Avenue Geeks Of Taco Sandwiches  (MAGOTS)  who seemed to be hopped on fresh white stuff.   

Truthfully, the commercials were as bad as some of those commercials during the Superbowl this year. Kind of on the level with the Black Eyed Peas who should go back whence they came because their act was about the worst since the Jackson fallout.  Great game, poor performances, and the Stupid Bowl Committee needs to get someone who knows the words to the national anthem.

Back to the beef; People actually reported to me seeing what appears to be beef on their Beef Tacos and Burritos, whereas it  formerly looked like the streaks left on baby diapers. Have no fear!  In time it will once again look like they scraped the back of the spoon used to stir the meat on your burrito. 

The beef days will end as soon as things cool down for the lawsuit. Listen unless you suffer from acute mental blindness, all you have to do to figure out who side of the story to believe. My eyes and senses's don't lie, the corporation got caught, their stores were not doing a good job and in the military we would of called a stand down, like Starbucks, close for the day, retrain all the help, clean up the act and make good food. When I see that consistently I will change my ratings.