A Wing and a Scare

A fake news site's claim that a large quantity of rat meat was sold as chicken wings before the Super Bowl spread after it was reported by other web sites.


Claim: 300,000 pounds of rat meat disguised as chicken wings were sold in the U.S. before the Super Bowl.

False

Example: [Collected via e-mail and Facebook, February 2016]

I just read on Facebook that containers of what was supposed to be chicken wings were confiscated by customs at the Port of San Francisco. The containers were shipped from China and when they were opened, they were found to contain rat meat disguised as chicken wings. Any truth to this?

Is this true? 300,000 POUNDS OF RAT MEAT SOLD AS CHICKEN WINGS ACROSS AMERICA! And the FDA warned people before the Superbowl rat meat from China

Origin:On 15 February 2016, the web site Urban Image Magazine published an article claiming that 300,000 pounds of counterfeit chicken wings sold prior to the Super Bowl were actually rat meat.

However, the source cited by the web site was World News Daily Report, a well-known peddler of fabricated news. On 6 February 2016, that web site published the claim just ahead of the 7 February 2016 sporting event:

San Francisco, CA | The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned about an estimated 300,000 pounds of counterfeit rat meat that has been sold as chicken wings in restaurants and grocery stores across America.

FDA inspectors raised concerns when several illegal containers originating from China were seized by customs at the Port of San Francisco and were found to contain rat meat that was meant to be shipped to different meat processing plants across America and resold as chicken ... the FDA warns an estimated 300,000 pounds of the counterfeit rat meat might still be in circulation and could finish in American plates during the Super Bowl this Sunday.

“The Super Bowl is a period where chicken wings are in high demand and where restaurants and grocery stores often face a penury” explains FDA inspector, Ronald Jones. “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,” he adds.

As with all of World News Daily Report's articles, the claim had no basis in truth. The article used an unrelated image published to the internet in 2014, itself unrelated to chicken wings or the 2016 Super Bowl.

World News Daily Report regularly publishes outlandish false claims to encourage social media sharing and traffic to the site; in this instance, the story was clearly concocted to spike traffic ahead of the Super Bowl. Its disclaimer plainly states:

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website — even those based on real people — are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

Earlier World News Daily Report hoaxes included claims a baby in the Philippines was born with stigmata, a lottery winner died after gold-plating his testicles, a 14-year-old virgin was impregnated by a flu shot, a slaughterhouse employee surreptitiously murdered dozens of coworkers over a span of twenty years, a donor heart recipient went on a murderous spree after receiving an organ from an executed serial killer, a man's genitals were permanently damaged during the attempted sexual assault of a pit bull, a meth-using babysitter ate a toddler, a Smithsonian employee was arrested for "raping" a mummy, and an overweight man was suing Golden Corral because he was ejected for staying there too long.

Last updated: 16 February 2016

Originally published: 16 February 2016

Kim LaCapria is a New York-based content manager and longtime snopes.com message board participant. Although she was investigated and found to be "probably false" by snopes.com in early 2002, Kim later began writing for the site due to an executive order unilaterally passed by President Obama during a secret, late-night session (without the approval of Congress). Click like and share if you think this is an egregious example of legislative overreach.



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