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Consumer Confidential: Verizon brags, food labels change, Taco Bell gets sued

January 25, 2011 | 10:38 am

Iphonepic Here's your two-fisted Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--When it comes to wireless devices, you don't want to brag too soon about the quality of your service. When AT&T turned loose the iPhone 3G in 2008, technical glitches left some people unable to use the gadgets for hours. But our friends at Verizon say they won't have any such meltdowns when they unleash the iPhone on their network next month. The company says it's learned from AT&T's missteps and has scads of extra capacity waiting in the wings. "We're not going to have any flaws on the execution of the iPhone launch," says Fran Shammo, Verizon's chief financial officer. Let's hope she doesn't end up with iEgg on her iFace.

--The food industry is trying to get ahead of government-imposed food labels with some labels of its own. The new labels, which will appear on the front of products instead of the back, were designed by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Assn. It will list calories, saturated fat, sodium and total sugars contained in each product. The Grocery group says food companies have "a strong track record of providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle." But nutrition advocates say voluntary efforts aren't enough. Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said if the food industry was really serious about better labels, it would wait for federal authorities to draw up proper guidelines.

--Speaking of food, a California woman is suing Taco Bell for not putting enough meat in its beef products. The class-action suit, which does not ask for money, objects to Taco Bell calling its products "seasoned ground beef or seasoned beef, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef." It says Taco Bell's ground beef is made of such components as water, isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate, as well as some beef and seasonings. Just 35% of the taco filling was a solid, and just 15% overall was protein, the suit says. Taco Bell says it "prides itself on serving high-quality Mexican-inspired food." I guess they also stand behind their meat-inspired ingredients.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: Verizon has high hopes for its iPhone launch. Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images