Fact Check: Oxtail Is NOT Kangaroo Meat in Disguise

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Oxtail Is NOT Kangaroo Meat in Disguise Not Kangaroo

Is "oxtail" a retail name for kangaroo meat and does a Connecticut grocer substitute oxtail for kangaroo tail meat? No, that's not true: an employee from the meat department of the store whose label is shown in the photo told Lead Stories the store buys its meat from a USDA-approved meat supplier and that there's no "oxtail" branding of kangaroo meat.

The story originated from a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published on May 9, 2021. It opened:

DONT LET ME STOP YOU FROM EATING (KANGAROOS) TAILS You been eating it for years and gulp up in your WANGA BELLIES under the global name ( OXTAILS) They did not lies to you at all When they says OX-TAIL in the stores Because the word (OX) is just Another name for a TAIL so the wording OXTAILS could meant it comes from any animals with a Tail As you sees here yes it the OX of a KANGAROO very expensive to be your plates now TAKE A GOOD LOOK at the whole formation of this Kangaroos tail HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BEFORE in your plates or at the meat shops?????

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue May 11 15:43:11 2021 UTC)

Lead Stories called Fresh Farms Market in Bloomfield Hills, Connecticut on May 11, 2021 for comment on this claim. They responded with:

That's absolutely crazy...everything we sell has to be coming from a USDA stamped facility...and absolutely not possible because they stamp it, the way the USDA works, you know, everything has to be stamped. They have to be coming from USDA-certified plan. I buy from reputable dealers from poultry products and East Windsor to Nebraskaland. Those are my two main vendors.

Lead Stories also emailed the University of Washington's linguistics department on May 11, 2021, to check if there are alternate meanings of "ox." Prof. Richard Wright responded:

The word "ox" means "adult male castrated cattle" or "bullock" or "steer" or any "bovine beast of burden". It's modern form "ox" is descended from Middle English oxe, which is descended from Old English oxa, which is descended from Proto-Germanic *uhsô, which is descended from Proto-Indo-European *uksḗn. (The asterisks signify that the form is reconstructed) This word has cognates in many Indo-European languages meaning something like "male cattle", I don't know of a single one where it means "tail". This info is from the Wiktionary entry for ox.

Sarah Little, the vice president of communications at the North American Meat Institute, responded to an email from Lead Stories asking for a comment on this claim.

Her response was as follows:

They can ship a lot of stuff to the US, but kangaroo meat is not approved.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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