It’s almost crunch time again at Hawai’i Taco Bell

Taco Bell ending voluntary shelving of shells

BY PAUL C. CURTIS

TGI Staff Writer

Until Friday, you can’t fulfill your

craving for a crunchy Taco Bell taco on Kaua’i or anywhere else in

Hawai’i.

Taco Bell restaurants statewide voluntarily pulled all their corn

taco shells (and tostada shells) off the market until Taco Bell, Kraft Foods

and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration complete tests of the shells.

The

taco outage is to see if the claim is true that some Kraft Taco Bell home

original taco shells sold in certain grocery stores are made from genetically

engineered corn, according to Leah Allen, marketing director of Taco Bell in

Hawai’i.

“Even though our taco shells were not included in the claim, as a

precautionary measure Hawai’i Taco Bell decided to pull all of the product

until the mainland had a chance to fully analyze and test the products and give

the green light,” she said. “It was purely a precautionary measure.”

The

test to determine whether or not the taco shells were indeed made from

genetically altered corn is a complicated one. Allen said she’s unsure how long

it will take to get the results.

For those with taco cravings, however, new

batches of shells are being air-freighted in from the mainland.

They

should arrive in Hawai’i tomorrow and be sent to Taco Bell restaurants across

the state in time for Friday’s lunch rush, Allen said.

Kraft has

voluntarily recalled from store shelves its Kraft Taco Bell line of home

original taco shells, “so all the stores should have pulled it,” she

continued.

A woman answering 1-800-TACO-BELL (822-6235) at the guest

services center said the chain is changing the maker of its hard taco

shells.

Allen was prohibited from disclosing sales figures when asked if

the engineered-corn claim, which surfaced early last week, had hurt sales at

Hawai’i Taco Bell restaurants.

Staff writer Paul C. Curtis can be

reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) and pcurtis@pulitzer.net

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