'GMA' Exclusive - Taco Bell: 'Thank You For Suing Us'

That's the headline on full-page ads Taco Bell is taking out in newspapers across the country today, and this morning Taco Bell's president gave us an exclusive interview on “GMA” to press his case.

“I think when someone sullies your reputation you have to be swift and you have to be decisive. And we think our reputation has been sullied and we wanted to put out a headline that certainly drew attention and enables us to tell the story about our beef which is...88% USDA inspected, and not the 35% that’s being claimed,” Greg Creed told me. “And I think there is a huge difference between 88 and 35 and I think our customers, our employees and everyone else needs to know that.”

Taco Bell is retaining outside council, Creed said, and they will take whatever legal action is available to them.

“I think attacking our brand is like attacking a person. It’s just unacceptable when there aren’t any facts to support it,” Creed said on “GMA.”

T aco Bell claims that what they use is 88% beef, 3% water, 4% seasonings and 5% other ingredients. But the attorneys filing the lawsuit against the fast food chain told “GMA” that that the ingredients in the beef contain things “regular people do not use in recipes cooked at home.”

I asked Creed about the “isolated oat product” and why is it even in the beef?

“I’m not a food scientist. But what I can assure everybody is that every ingredient is in there for a purpose...All of those things are the product. So there are no fillers, there are no substitutes, there are no extenders. I can absolutely assure you of that,” he said.

If the plaintiff had reached out to Taco Bell to find out exactly what they put in their meat, Creed said they would have shared that information.

So with all this talk about Taco Bell – I asked Creed if he thought this lawsuit was really a gift in disguise?

“Can you turn lemons into lemonade, I think that clearly Taco Bell’s renowned for having great tasting food at unbelievably low prices,” he told me. “And what it enables us to do is to say you know, it’s not just great tasting, it is great quality and it is still the lowest price in the category. And so I think this will actually reassure our customers.”

-- George Stephanopoulos

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