Popular American fast food restaurant chain KFC must be relieved now after it emerged that a youth's claim about rat meat being served to him instead of chicken recently turned out to be a rumour.
The 25-year-old from Wilmington, Devorise Dixon, had bought a tender chicken meal from a KFC outlet in Los Angeles, but he had claimed that he was actually served a "deep-fried rat".
Dixon had put up a post on Facebook stating that he found a rat in his three-piece tender chicken meal, which he had bought from a local Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in California on 11 June.
"It was very hard and rubbery, which made me look at it," he wrote on his Facebook page after posting an image of something that did appear like a "crusty" fried rat.
"As I looked down at it I noticed that it was was in a shape of a rat with a tail," Dixon noted.
The "deep fried rat" claim took the Internet by storm after his "KFC Deep-Fried Rat" photos were shared more than 100,000 times. The news soon went viral across the globe.
KFC has now called it a "hoax", which was "intended to decieve the public" and, in fact, the image which was claimed to be that of a rat was actually only "hand-breaded white meat chicken".
"A customer has made a serious claim against KFC in the US and refuses to cooperate in the investigation. The images the customer originally posted DO NOT include this second angle because it clearly shows it's a piece of hand-breaded white meat chicken," KFC said in a statement on social media.
"Based on this, and the fact that he refuses to allow anyone to see the product, KFC US is left to believe that he intended to deceive the public with this HOAX and are considering all options. Thank you to all our fans for standing by the taste they can trust," KFC stated.
The Indian Express, citing another statement from KFC, reported that the company had asked Dixon for handing over the "deep fried rat" for an independent lab evaluation, but he has refused to provide the "product".
"KFC has made various attempts to contact this customer, but he is refusing to talk to us directly or through an attorney. Our chicken tenders often vary in size and shape, and we currently have no evidence to support this allegation. We have extended the opportunity to have an independent lab evaluate the product at our own expense, but the customer refuses to provide the product in question," KFC said in a press statement.
The Business Insider noted that it was likely a stunt for attention and it did work.
Snopes, a website dedicated to calling the bluff on all such claims, noted that the "deep fried rat" story was false. It also stated that "Kentucky Fried Rat" was one of the most common and often repeated food contamination urban legends.
jade gyllenhaal @jakegylIenhell
that fried kfc rat thing going around is so fake bc theres no kfc in wilmington lmao
HAPPY BDAY CHRIS @prattpacker
whoever made the kfc friend rat hoax and created a literal crisp rat,,, thanks for the meme
Shafik Mandhai @ShafikFM
Will be having a solidarity KFC for iftar after the rat hoax...
Joshua R Modoli @joshsyn
If you are one of those people who believed the stupid kfc rat hoax then I have a phone to sell you. It has windows10 os, 1tb storage, 120mp
sicelo ngozwana @longlive_jerry
whoever is spreading this rat hoax, which basically ruins kfc's reputation, is ruining black families too.