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Monique Curet
By Monique Curet January 19, 2022

Debunked claim about boneless chicken wings makes the rounds again

If Your Time is short

• There is no evidence to support the claim, which originated in 2016 and has been debunked multiple times.

It was Super Bowl season — prime time for feasting on chicken wings — when a baseless claim about the boneless delicacy first surfaced six years ago. Now the debunked rumor is once again making the rounds before the big game.

"Million pounds of rat meat being sold as boneless chicken wings in the U.S.," says one Instagram post dated Jan. 11.

The post 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.)

There is no evidence to support the claim. Government agencies that oversee food safety have not issued any press releases that corroborate the assertion.

The falsehood that "rat meat disguised as chicken wings were sold in the U.S. before the Super Bowl" made its debut in February 2016, according to Snopes. The fact-checking site reported that the story originated as satire. When the claim appeared again in 2017 and 2018, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesperson told fact checkers it was false.

Featured Fact-check

Both the 2016 and 2022 versions of the claim included the same image, made to look like a screenshot of a breaking TV news story. But a search of online news archives show there have been no such breaking TV stories.

The image is posted on Wikimedia Commons, where photos are available for download; the caption indicates it’s a poto of rat meat for sale in Thailand that was first shared on an individual’s public Flickr account in 2007.

We rate the claim that a million pounds of rat meat is being sold as boneless chicken wings in the U.S. Pants on Fire! 


Our Sources

Associated Press, "AP FACT CHECK: FDA didn’t warn about rat-meat chicken wings," March 4, 2017

Associated Press, "NOT REAL NEWS: FDA didn’t warn about rat-meat chicken wings," May 23, 2018

Associated Press, "Social media revives false claim about rat meat sold as chicken," Jan. 14, 2022

CStore Decisions, "Americans Ate a Record 1.42 Billion Chicken Wings This Super Bowl Sunday," Feb. 8, 2021

Instagram post, Jan. 11, 2022

PolitiFact, "Rats! Rumors of tons of rodent meat passed off as chicken wings in U.S. are fake news," March 6, 2017

Snopes, "Was Rat Meat Sold as Chicken Wings at the Super Bowl?" Feb. 16, 2016

U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, "News and Press Releases," accessed Jan.18, 2022

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "Press Announcements," accessed Jan.18, 2022

Wikimedia Commons, "File: Rat meat sold" accessed Jan. 19, 2022

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Debunked claim about boneless chicken wings makes the rounds again

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