Hoax Alert: Rat Meat NOT Sold As Chicken Wings Before Super Bowl

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

Nothing like a good food scare to get people worried after binging on beer and snacks during the Super Bowl. Fake news sites The Empire Herald and World News Daily Report are at it again, claiming 300,000 -- or more than a million, depending on the version of the story -- pounds of rat flesh were sold as chicken wings in American restaurants and grocery stores recently.

The rat meat was supposedly discovered by FDA inspectors in the port of San Francisco checking out some seized containers that originated from China.

The stories have similar quotes attributed variously to 'Ronald Jones', FDA Inspector:

The Super Bowl is a period where chicken wings are in high demand and where restaurants and grocery stores often face a penury. This is where the illegal market comes in. Although there is nothing dangerous about consuming rat meat if it is properly cooked, United States laws prohibit the import and sales of rat meat as a comestible item.

Or 'Julian Dodd', also FDA Inspector:

The Super Bowl is one of the highest grossing periods for restaurants and grocery stores because chicken wings, along with other finger foods, are in high demand. Because of the high demand, it's an opportune time for black market meat to easily slip pass the cracks. Rat meat is not harmful as long as it is properly prepared prior to human consumption however it is illegal to import and sale the rat meat as a consumer product.

Of course, both sites are well known for peddling totaly made up stories under the guise of 'satire', as explicitly stated in their Terms of Service here:

Much of the content contain on our website is consider satirical in nature unless otherwise specified

So if you are feeling a little queasy after yesterday's snack-a-thon, you probably just ate a bit too much, that's all. Don't be fooled like these people were:


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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