We've gazed into the madness of the McRib and now it's time to turn our collective curiosity deep into the bowels of another mysterious fast food protein: Taco Bell's ground beef. The company has published a helpful guide regarding the nature of its taco filler, which it says consist of 88% "Premium Beef" combined with 12% "Signature Recipe." But just what are the components of this special recipe? Is this going to be yoga mats and scalded stomachs all over again? Take my hand, dear reader, as we jump into a vat of molten meat.

First, let's talk about the beef itself and the popular jokes about Grade D meat of dubious provenance. "Although that's funny, the answer is NO," says the company; there's no such grade, as it turns out, and Taco Bell uses "only USDA-inspected, 100% premium real beef, period." Because they're able to buy in such massive quantities—to the tune of 300 million pounds per year—that's why they're able to score dirt cheap rates and sell tacos for around a buck. And when it comes to other "fillers" to bulk up the product, they insist the only things added are a "very small percentage of oats" to help keep the meat moist. Oats are good for you, right?

The chain also "debunks" the different salts, sugars and other flavor enhancers they use, like torula yeast, which gives the product a "more savory taste," and sodium phosphates, which make sure the meat has the "right texture." Oddly, the "artificial flavor" listed is just "a black pepper," which seems the most un-artificial of the additions; other spices include salt, chili pepper, onion power, tomato powder, sugar, garlic power and cocoa powder. Is Taco Bell's ground beef in a mole sauce? Mind = blown.

This kind of fast food "transparency" is cause for cautious optimism...or just a great way to put a positive PR spin on your product when other chains are being criticized for obfuscating their ingredients. Taco Bell does seem to be winning the chain game even if their Waffle Taco didn't live up to the hype. Peruse the truth if you yearn for further burrito enlightenment. Just please don't tell us what's in that Dorito dust.