Was Kentucky Fried Chicken forced to change its name to KFC because it was not using real chicken?

By July 12, 2023 Health, Lifestyle, Science

We came across a post on Twitter with a peck-uliar claim that KFC was forced to drop the word “chicken” from its name due to a court ruling which found that KFC was using lab-grown meat, which is not real chicken.

The tweet includes a video that does not elaborate further on the claim but rather compares chicken breast in a green packet bought from 1 store, to chicken breast bought from another store. The author of the video states that the chicken breast in the green packet looks weird, implying that it may be lab-grown meat.

While the tweet provided a link, it led to a Telegram group chat with 1482 subscribers (at the time this fact-check is written) containing the same claim as well as other bizarre claims. The Telegram user who had sent the message did not offer further information in support of the statements made against the popular American fast-food chain which specialises in fried chicken.

Lab-grown meat – KFC’s chicks of the trade?

In our search for court rulings against KFC, we were unable to find any that declared that KFC was unable to use the word chicken in its name as it was selling lab-grown meat as opposed to real chicken.

In addition, a 2021 fact-check had previously debunked the claim that the United States (US) Federal Court found that KFC was not selling 100% chicken and 85% of KFC’s ingredients were unsuitable for human consumption.

Nevertheless, with recent news of the business of lab-grown meat expected to take off in the US and Singapore, we wondered if it might be possible that KFC has recently introduced lab-grown meat in its menu.

A check of KFC’s global website showed no media statements or press releases on selling lab-grown meat. On the contrary, KFC was still promoting menu items made with “100% white meat chicken”.

Image credit: KFC

According to a spokesperson from KFC who recently spoke to USA TODAY, KFC Russia did announce in 2020 that it would experiment with lab-grown meat. However, it was described as a one-time event which has since concluded. The spokesperson also stated that KFC is presently not using lab-grown meat in its products sold in the US or anywhere else.

Moreover, KFC has yet to be approved to sell lab-grown meat. Presently in the US, only 2 California companies, namely Upside Foods and Good Meat, have been granted permission to sell lab-grown meat.

Shortening of Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC

KFC has explained that it changed its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC, to shorten its name and avoid association with the word “fried”, to attract potential health-conscious customers.

Further, a similar claim that KFC had to stop using the word chicken in its name as it was using mutant chickens has been debunked in the past.

Therefore, the claim that KFC was forced to change its name due to a court ruling concluding that it was selling lab-grown meat and not real chicken, is false.

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