The Truth Behind the Urban Legend of Worms as Filler in Fast Food

Fact or Rumor? Get Details on the Substitutions Used in Restaurant Chains

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You may have taken a look at all of the horrific Taco Bell cockroach stories and stumbled down a path of urban legends or creepy facts about your fast food. There are long-lasting beliefs regarding the fast food industry, such as believing fast food hamburgers never go bad, frozen desserts use pig fat instead of dairy or that Arby's roast beef is made from a form of a liquid gel. Read on to hear about the Taco Bell rumors as we get the facts straight about the cost of 'filler" in fast food.

True or False: Taco Bell Rumors

It has been rumored that Taco Bell is supposedly allowed by the FDA to put mealworms into their beef products. This rumor follows this belief because mealworms are cheaper than beef and because they contain less fat and calories than beef. The logic here is that by doing this, they can supposedly keep the cost of the product down and also control the fat and calorie content.

Get the Facts Straight

For years, there has also been gossip and concern that various fast food and burger chains, including McDonald's, use earthworms as filler in their ground beef. While some people actually believe this, it is more than unlikely that chain restaurants are doing this. If you look up the per-pound prices of various types of worms, it just does not make good business sense.

The Price of Worm Filler

For example, the average going rate for earthworms in U.S. dollars is around $20.00 per pound— that is in bulk, not delivery. The cost of earthworms is at least five times what you would spend on ground beef at the supermarket and around seven or eight times what a fast food restaurant pays.

Mealworms are no bargain, either. In England, there is a place called Live Foods Direct that stocks the critters in bulk for upwards of $10.00 a pound. While there is the opportunity to comparison shop, this is likely the best current going rate for mealworms known today. If anything, mealworms ought to be promoted as a fancy gourmet food item, not a cheap substitute for ground beef.

Your Fast Food Is Safe to Eat

While eating at home is often the healthier option, fast food is safe as long as it is consumed in the quantities that are recommended, according to nutritional charts. Fast food is often higher in fat, calories, sugar, and salt which can grossly affect your diet in negative ways. Risks such as heart disease and weight gain are at bay if daily consumption is not limited to 2,000 calories, taking in consideration fat and sodium as well.

The best way to know what ingredients are in your fast food is to look at nutritional labels, which can be found inside restaurant stores or on their websites, such as in a menu or nutritional guide. If there is no information available, reaching out to customer service on the phone or online is recommended.