Taco Bell has temporarily removed seasoned ground beef from the menu at restaurants in nearly two dozen states after a customer complained they had found metal shavings in their meat.
The recall, which was issued Monday, involves 2.3 million pounds of seasoned beef, according to a statement from the chain. Taco Bell says it "took immediate action and voluntarily recalled" the product from the affected restaurants and distribution centers.
Containers of the seasoned beef, which is produced by Kenosha Beef International, were shipped to five distribution centers (in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia), and then on to Taco Bell locations across the country.
In total, this recall impacted "21 states across the eastern Midwest, northern Southeast and Northeast regions," said Taco Bell. The seasoned beef, which came in 5-pound bags, was produced between Sept. 20 and Oct. 4, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
“Nothing is more important than our customers’ safety, and nothing means more to us than their trust,” said Julie Masino, Taco Bell's president of North America. “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.”
According to the USDA, there have been no reports of illness or any “adverse reaction to the beef," but the chain is encouraging anyone who is concerned to contact a healthcare provider. Customers may also reach out to the chain's customer service representatives at 1-800-TACOBELL (1-800-822-6235) from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. PST.
Many of the chain's most popular items, like its Chalupa Supreme, quesadillas, tacos and Cheesy Gorditas, use the seasoned beef affected by the recall. But many of the items can also be made with refried beans or chicken.
Taco Bell's most loyal fans are already mourning the loss of the meaty filling.
Some are complaining that customers shouldn't be charged extra to swap in chicken when it's the chain's fault that beef is not available.
The seasoned beef recall comes just a few months after Taco Bell suffered a shortage of tortillas at many of its restaurants amid supply chain issues.
When reached by TODAY, a rep for Taco Bell was unable to provide a timeline for when the chain expects seasoned beef to be back on the menu.