Fact Check

Wendy's Admits to Using Horse and Rat Meat in Their Rich and Meaty Chili!

Fake news reports the Wendy's fast food chain was caught serving adulterated chili product.

Published Feb 19, 2015


Claim:   The Wendy's fast food restaurant chain uses rat and horse meat to make their chili.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, February 2015]

Does Wendy's hamburger chain and Burger king use horse and rat meat?


Origins:   On 17 February 2015, the entertainment website News Buzz Daily published an article claiming that fast food restaurant chain Wendy's was using rat and horse meat to make their chili:

The United States Food and Drug Administration has report that during inspection of Wendy's famous Rich & Meaty Chili, traces of equine and rattus DNA strains were found. Wendy's Chief Executive Director Boris Washington, immediately admitted that horse and rat had been used in the chili as a beef supplement.

"We only use about 30% beef, the rest is made of meat fillers, rat and horse meat. Using this type of meat is a cheaper expense for us, allowing us to competitively price our food while been profitable at the same time. What we are doing is not illegal or unhealthy. The FDA has approved the contents of the meat. We will continue with our business plan" explains Washington. Horse and rat meat has been used as a delicacy in some countries like China and South Africa, however it is taboo in the United States. Many people consider horses as pets and the consumption of horse meat is along the likes of consuming dog meat which is looked down upon by most Americans. Rats are rodents and its consumption is even more frowned upon.

The News Buzz Daily is an entertainment website that does not publish factual articles. A disclaimer at the bottom of the website states that "NewsBuzzDaily.com is a combination of real shocking news and satire news. Please note that articles written on this site are for entertainment and satirical purposes only."

This isn't the first time that Wendy's has been accused of using horse meat. While these accusations have been proven unfounded, another fast food restaurant did once have horse meat in its products. In 2013, Burger King restaurants in the UK were forced to change suppliers after traces of horse meat were discovered in their beef. Wendy's released a statement at the time explaining that the restaurant only uses "fresh, 100% North American beef in all restaurants throughout North America. We do not use any horse meat."

The restaurant also lists the ingredients used to make their chili (and other menu items) on their website. Neither horse meat nor rat meat are listed:

Rich And Meaty Chili: Water, Chili Base, tomato juice, tomatoes, calcium chloride, seasoning (sugar, modified cornstarch, salt, dried chilies, natural flavors, spices), flavor enhancer (dextrose, salt, yeast extract, silicon dioxide, modified cornstarch, citric acid, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, xanthan gum), vegetables (onions, celery, green peppers), ground beef, chili beans (prepared pink beans, prepared kidney beans).

Last updated:   19 February 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.