Companies better be sure they are selling the exact product they advertised to lure in customers, or be slapped with a lawsuit like Taco Bell.
A California woman has brought about a false-advertising lawsuit against the fast food chain, stating that Taco Bell's beef products actually contain very little meat.
The class-action suit does not ask for money but objects to Taco Bell calling its products seasoned ground beef or seasoned beef, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef, LA Times reported.
According to the plaintiff, only about 35 percent of the filling was beef, with the rest being components such as varieties of oats and corn starch.
The company's definition of 'seasoned beef' does not conform to consumers' reasonable expectation or the general meaning of the term, the lawsuit states.
On Taco Bell's website, 'seasoned ground beef' lists ingredients of beef, water, seasoning that includes chili pepper, yeast, soybean oil among other things.
The lawsuit also states that Taco Bell saves money by adding fillers because beef is the most expensive part of the product.
However, Taco Bell rejected these claims in a statement and said that the company buys 'beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket.'
Taco Bell is only the latest in a series of companies to get into trouble for false advertising claims, or even trying to promote their products by offering freebies.
Even Apple, one the most popular technology companies, was accused in a similar lawsuit in 2008, when a customer claimed that Apple exaggerated about the speed of its then-launched iPhone 3G.
Apple had used the tagline 'twice as fast' in promoting the phone in its commercials.
But food retailers are the most targeted group in recent years, as companies fight against each other about commercials, or are sued by angry customers.
McDonald's, the world's biggest restaurant chain, was slapped with a lawsuit last year by a Washington-based consumer advocacy group stating that the company's Happy Meals would harm children.
The Happy Meals generally come with a toy, generally the latest action figure, which is extremely popular with children.
However, the consumer group claimed that by including these toys, McDonald's has 'helped create and continues to exacerbate a super-sized health crisis in California.'
The lawsuit does not seek monetary compensation either. It just wants an order banning further advertisements to promote these meals on television, billboards and its outlets.
Kellogg Co even had to pay the price for 'falsely advertising' benefits of its Frosted Mini-Wheats that was supposedly good for children. The commercials stated that attentiveness of children who ate the cereal improved by nearly 20 percent, but tests by the Federal Trade Commission found the results contradictory.
Advertising generally has a history of slightly exaggerating the facts or glossing over other issues in an attempt to market the product to the consumer in the best way possible.
But in an increasingly health-conscious America, such false advertising could lead these companies into more trouble.
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has made childhood obesity as her cause and promotes less fat fast food, and healthier options.
Given such an intense scrutiny and the recent reports that there are more obese people in the U.S. than any other developed nation, more misleading advertising by food-related companies could land them in hot water.