woman speaking in car caption 'What's this about Taco Bell??? Please enlighten us.' 'Reputation Management' (l) Taco Bell doorway with sign (c) woman speaking in car caption 'What's this about Taco Bell??? Please enlighten us.' 'Phthalates' (r)

dcwcreations/Shutterstock @freeboxin/TikTok (Licensed)

‘These are chemicals that are used to soften plastic’: TikToker shares Taco Bell ingredient conspiracy, sparking debate

'But it’s sooooo goooood.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 5, 2023   Updated on Dec 13, 2023, 12:23 pm CST

A TikToker has sparked debate on the platform after calling attention to an alleged conspiracy regarding a chemical in Taco Bell’s food.

The creator, Alia (@freeboxin), discusses a specific chemical that has been found in Taco Bell’s, and other fast food restaurants’, food: pthalates.

Also known as “plasticizers,” this chemical is used to “make plastics more durable” according to the CDC, and it is used in tons of household products and consumer goods. Alia believes that the use of this plastic is part of a widespread “weaponized” initiative against the American population in order to make people ill. The United States also has the highest healthcare costs in the world, according to World Population Review.

@freeboxin Replying to @technicolornitemare I DoorDash, which is why I’ve looked into fast food so much & hate it so much. #gynecomastiaawarness #tacobell #fastfoodnation ♬ original sound – Alia 💎 FREEBOXIN

“Every time that I discuss Taco Bell on here, I get a whole bunch of comments from current and former Taco Bell employees enlightening me on how truly disgusting it really is behind the scenes,” Alia begins her video. “Everybody knows that Taco Bell meat is like dog food wrapped in a tortilla, an affront to God and [an] insult to Mexican food.”

Alia then references a recent upset regarding a newly released menu item: the Chicken Poblano Caesar Burrito. Several customers have taken to the internet to call the meal out, claiming that it’s not a burrito, it’s a wrap. The TikToker claims this outcry is “good press” for Taco Bell.

“I think it’s planted by Taco Bell, to be honest,” she says. “Because they would way rather people be reading articles like that, than be reading ‘Is Taco Bell meat worse than dog food?'”

While Alia’s claim that Taco Bell incited this outrage itself is unsubstantiated, she also draws attention to a harmful chemical that can be found in the chain’s food: phthalates.

“But one of the worst things that’s in the Taco Bell is phthalates,” she says. “These are chemicals that are used to soften plastic. They’re called plasticizers.”

A 2021 study found that more than 80% of food samples, including chicken burritos obtained from Taco Bell and other items from McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Chipotle, contained phthalates. These chemicals are also found in gloves and plastic packaging, per Insider.

While Alia claims that phthalates in fast food can cause excess estrogen, leading to “man boobs” the CDC states that the potential side effects on human reproductive systems are inconclusive.

“Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system in animals. Human health effects from exposure to low levels of phthalates are not as clear,” the agency states. “More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates.”

Still, some phthalates have been linked to reproductive issues as they can disrupt the endocrine system. Insider also notes a recent study that found those with high levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to die early, particularly due to heart disease.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Alia and Taco Bell via email for further comment.

“Unfortunately, we are just so desensitized to being so sick in this country and to being told that everything gives us cancer,” Alia concludes. “The United States food system is the worst in the world. And I truly believe that it is weaponized against our population.”

The topic of corporate influence over governmental agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, which was created to protect consumers from companies trying to shill products unsafe for human consumption just to turn a profit, is a controversial one. In September of 2022, the New York Times reported that 75% of the FDA’s drug division funding came directly from pharmaceutical companies. On a whole, the FDA receives substantial amounts of funding from many of the companies it regulates, leading many to believe that there are massive conflicts of interest at play.

Yum! brands, the company that owns Taco Bell, spent a documented $1,235,965 in lobbying in 2022 according to Open Secrets.

Alia’s video sparked concern from several viewers.

“Woah I’m a Taco Bell employee and I did not know about this burrito before this, everything we use is in plastic even the meat BPAs galore,” one user wrote. Taco Bell announced that it will phase out BPAs and phthalates from consumer-facing packaging by 2025, per Toxic-Free Future.

Still, others claimed they’ll continue to eat at the fast food chain.

“Idc I’ll still eat there,” one user wrote.

“ITS BOMB ASS DOG FOOD LOL,” another claimed.

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*First Published: Jan 5, 2023, 3:37 pm CST