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A viral blog post claims that fast food chain Burger King has "recently confessed" that horse meat has been used in its burgers and Whoppers. The article on the Blogspot site called "Everyday Useful Info" is accompanied with an image that shows Burger King’s logo next to the front half of a horse with the rest of its body falling into a bowl as ground meat.
The article was posted on Oct. 7, 2017, but it’s been circulating again on Facebook, even though Burger King has "confessed" to nothing of the sort.
This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) The post has enjoyed more than 1 million Facebook interactions and 243,000 shares, CrowdTangle data show.
The article and website themselves contain plenty of red flags about their veracity:
"Alexandra," a name at the bottom of the post, hints at the article’s author. However, Alexandra’s Blogger profile shows she joined the site in May 2016, but she has no image or contact info. It also says she runs a blog called, "Handy Topics," but the link to that website produced an error message this week.
On Everyday Useful Info’s website, a tab that says "Contact Us" does not display any contact information when clicked. A page of the site displays some text in French, while another page is in English. Though clunky, the site is still active and features other recent posts like "Being in a Happy Relationship is Making You Fat, Scientist Confirms," posted Oct. 23, 2018.
The article is riddled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, such as this one: "This fast food chain finally gave up pretending and apologized to the honest costumers (sic) about the test being wrong all the time," the post reads.
And then there’s the topic: Did Burger King really admit to using horse meat?
In short, no.
But the tale does have its roots in a real news story.
In 2013, the fast-food chain announced it had stopped buying beef from Silvercrest Foods in 2013 after tests found horse DNA in some products, according to the Associated Press. At the time, Burger King announced that the decision was a "voluntary and precautionary measure" and "not a food safety issue."
In its story, Everyday Useful Info names "Silvercrest," as the firm that provided the horse meat.
Burger King Worldwide on Jan. 31, 2013, issued a press release regarding the Silvercrest scandal. It stated that it had been notified that health officials were investigating Silvercrest’s products, which prompted the restaurant chain to conduct its own investigation.
"Our independent DNA tests results on product taken from BURGER KING® restaurants were negative for any equine DNA," the press release said. "However, four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. This product was never sold to our restaurants."
Burger King said that its investigation established that Silvercrest used "a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. They promised to deliver 100% British & Irish beef patties and have not done so."
"This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them. Through our investigation, we have confirmed that this non-approved Polish supplier is the same company identified by the Irish Department of Agriculture as the source of Silvercrest's contamination issue."
Burger King stated that on Jan. 23, 2013, it transitioned all of its UK, Ireland and Denmark suppliers to other suppliers from Germany and Italy: "These suppliers have provided DNA evidence to confirm their products are free of equine DNA. These are the product being sold in our restaurants today."
Not once in its statement did Burger King say, as this article in Everyday Useful Info states, that it was using horse meat in its burgers and whoppers. The Everyday Useful Info post blows the 2013 horse meat scare out of proportion, framing the incident as an intentional deception on Burger King’s part. The article is similar to other viral claims that have falsely alleged that human meat was found in a McDonald’s factory.
We rate this article False.
Everyday Useful Info, "BURGER KING ADMITS TO USING HORSE MEAT IN BURGERS, WHOPPERS," Oct. 7, 2017
Alexandra’s Blogger profile, accessed Oct. 19, 2018
Associated Press, "Burger King drops supplier linked to horsemeat," Jan. 24, 2013
Burger King Worldwide press release, "Burger King Worldwide Concludes Investigation of Silvercrest Foods" Jan. 31, 2013
The Guardian, "Burger King reveals its burgers were contaminated in horsemeat scandal," Jan. 31, 2013
CNN, "Neigh it ain't so: Burger King finds horse meat at European supplier," Jan. 31, 2013
Huffington Post, "Burger King Horsemeat Scandal: Chain Admits That Food May Have Been Tainted," Jan. 31, 2013
PolitiFact, "Fake news: Human remains were not found in McDonald's hamburgers," Sept. 28, 2017
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