Fact Check: Chick-fil-A Did NOT Announce It Is 'Moving To Fake Chicken' -- Company Said It's Shifting Policy On Animal Antibiotics

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Chick-fil-A Did NOT Announce It Is 'Moving To Fake Chicken' -- Company Said It's Shifting Policy On Animal Antibiotics Company: False

Did Chick-fil-A announce that the company was "moving to fake chicken"? No, that's not true: Pointing out that a social media post making the claim appeared on April 1, 2024, the company told Lead Stories: "The Instagram post from April Fool's Day is false." While Chick-fil-A previously said in a statement that it would be moving away from "No Antibiotics Ever" in its chicken to "No Antibiotics Important To Human Medicine," an expert in poultry science told Lead Stories that Chick-fil-A does not administer animal antibiotics to their chickens because suppliers would do that if needed, without any "antibiotics that are used in human medicine."

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on April 1, 2024. The text read:



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

Screenshot 2024-04-02 at 10.05.50 AM 1.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Apr 2 14:08:38 2024 UTC)

A caption with the post said, "They should call themselves SICK-FIL-A... cause they are causing sickness in thousands of people!"

The post does not cite a source and does not specify what "chemical" would be added to Chick-fil-A's cheese, nor does the post cite any cases of sickness or case studies of illness. This fact check will not include the claim that a Pfizer chemical is added to Chick-fil-A cheese.

Lead Stories reached out to Chick-fil-A regarding the claim. In an emailed response on April 2, 2024, the company told us, "The Instagram post from April Fool's Day is false." The company did not elaborate further or address specifics in the claim.

Chick-fil-A does have an undated statement (archived here) on its website, chick-fil-a.com (archived here), about the standards for the chicken they serve. It reads:

To maintain supply of the high-quality chicken you expect from us, Chick-fil-A will shift from No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) to No Antibiotics Important To Human Medicine (NAIHM) starting in the Spring of 2024 ... NAIHM restricts the use of those antibiotics that are important to human medicine and commonly used to treat people, and allows use of animal antibiotics only if the animal and those around it were to become sick.

We later found that Chick-fil-A had tested a cauliflower sandwich at select locations around February 2023. When asked Chick-fil-A whatever happened with that sandwich, a spokesperson for the company replied in an April 3, 2024, email:

The Chick-fil-A Cauliflower Sandwich was part of a limited-time test in select U.S. markets, which concluded as planned last spring. The sandwich featured a tender filet from a whole cauliflower that was breaded in our signature seasoning and pressure-cooked in 100% refined peanut oil. While we don't have any updates on the sandwich to share at this time, additional information about our vegetarian and vegan offerings can be found on our website.

While the company would not address specifics in the claim post beyond declaring it false, Lead Stories spoke to Mindy Brashears (archived here), a professor of Food Health from Texas Tech University. In an April 3, 2024, email, she elaborated on Chick-fil-A's statement with this response:

First of all, it absolutely does not mean [Chick-fil-A uses sick animals]. Animals can get sick and when they are sick, they need to be treated. If they are sick and treated, they will be treated with animal antibiotics, not antibiotics that are used in human medicine and thus will not increase the likelihood of having antibiotic resistance in humans. Chick-fil-a's commitment to treating sick birds [is] important for animal welfare. Antibiotics used for livestock/poultry have withdrawal times and thus they will not go to harvest until the withdrawal period is over and there will be no residues in the meat.

We also spoke to Todd Applegate (archived here), the department head and a chairman in University of Georgia's Poultry Science Department, too. In an April 2, 2024, email, he added:

Any antibiotic that is given, is given to the bird while it is alive, either via its feed or in water ... No antibiotics are ever included in chicken meat. To clarify the categories of which these are - these are antibiotics that are not in classes of antibiotics used in human medicine.

When asked if Applegate would classify chicken that has been given antibiotics that are not important to human medicine as "fake chicken," he replied in an April 3, 2024, email:

I would not call birds raised with 'no antibiotics important to human medicine' as fake. Rather -- I consider this a balance of animal well-being with an eye towards minimizing antibiotic resistance in human medicine.

Other Lead Stories articles on claims regarding Chick-fil-A are here.


  • 2024-04-09T14:20:51Z 2024-04-09T14:20:51Z
    Added a response from Chick-fil-A spokesperson

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

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.

Read more about or contact

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion