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Taco Bell Will Start Serving Cage-Free Eggs At All Of Its Locations

Photo by iStock Images
November 17, 2015

Taking a queue from major chains like Subway and McDonald's, Taco Bell is working to make its production practices more transparent. The corporation plans to exclusively serve cage-free eggs at all of its 6,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2016.

Since first introducing breakfast items last year, Taco Bell's morning menu has expanded to feature 16 options — most of which contain eggs.

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An estimated 500,000 hens will benefit from their move to use cage-free American Humane Certified eggs. Unlike conventionally raised caged eggs, cage-free ones are laid in open industrial barn rooms where they have more space and are less susceptible to stress and disease.

Taco Bell's press release details the cage-free transition's quick timeline. While sweeping ingredient-sourcing changes often take food chains around five years to implement, this one will be completed in just over one year.

Their haste is likely a response to consumer demand: A recent survey by the American Humane Association found that nearly 95% of Americans polled said they were "very concerned" about animal welfare.

“Ingredient transparency is more important than ever to the next generation of Taco Bell customers. That is why we remain hungry and challenge ourselves to set ambitious yet achievable commitments that make our food better, without ever compromising the flavor that our fans crave,” Liz Matthews, the chain's Chief Food Innovation Officer, wrote in the release.

Taco Bell is also on track to remove artificial flavors and colors, added trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and unsustainable palm oil from its core menu items by 2016.

Such transitions towards more natural, sustainable production are promising signs for the future of a historically dubious fast food industry.

Yo quiero, indeed.

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Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.