LOS ANGELES — The composition of Taco Bell’s beef may be called into question, but the company’s sense of humor hasn’t.

Fighting back against a lawsuit that alleges the company’s beef isn’t very meaty, the Irvine, Calif.-based Mexican fast-food chain has launched a massive marketing campaign – including snarky, full-page newspaper ads that declare, “Thank you for suing us.”

The chain’s ads in Friday’s editions of the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times and other papers is an effort to set the record straight, according to company officials.

“Plain ground beef tastes boring,” the ad states. “The only reason we add anything to our beef is to give the meat flavor and quality. Otherwise we’d end up with nothing more than the bland flavor of ground beef, and that doesn’t make for great-tasting tacos.”

But there’s also a very serious tone to the company’s PR counteroffensive, which includes information on its Facebook page and a YouTube video of Taco Bell President Greg Creed insisting that the meat mix is “88 percent beef and 12 percent secret recipe.”

The company – a subsidiary of Yum Brands Inc. – is threatening to countersue the plaintiff, Amanda Obney, and the two law firms behind the consumer rights class-action suit filed Jan. 19 at the federal court in Santa Ana, Calif.

The complaint alleges that tests of the chain’s beef filling found only 35 percent actual beef; the remainder was preservatives, extenders and additives.

The complaint claims that Taco Bell is falsely advertising its product and wants the court to order the company to stop calling its meat mixture “beef.”

Taco Bell was quick to jump into this food fight. Creed, in the YouTube video, says the beef is “100 percent USDA-inspected, just like the quality beef you buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home.”

He goes on to explain that the 12 percent “secret” ingredients include 3 percent water and 4 percent Mexican spices and “flavors.” The last 5 percent, Creed explains, is a combination of caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid and “other” ingredients.

The company has posted a statement and full list of ingredients.