No, Boneless Chicken Wings Aren't Made Out Of Rat Meat

The internet loves a juicy conspiracy theory. Among the questionable tales circulating on the World Wide Web are not only stories about politicians, science, and celebrities — but also plenty of food-related conspiracy theories. One such recent claim said that some chicken wings are actually being prepared with rat meat. As shocking as that may seem, the rumor gained tons of attention online. Per USA Today, the story spread in part when a TikTok video by user @qu33nbeeee, viewed nearly 700,000 times, referenced a "wing shortage" and shared screenshots of alleged news stories reporting on "millions [of] pounds of rat meat being sold as boneless chicken wings in [the] U.S."

However, the video's claim has been confirmed as false, according to AP News. Now, when one opens the same video on Instagram, the post is accompanied by a warning about "false information." Here's how the rumor gained so much traction in the first place.

Fake stories about rat meat are frequently shared online

Conspiracy theories regarding rat meat entering the human food chain have circulated several times in recent years, but they have all been proven false, AP News explains. User @qu33nbeeee's TikTok video was based on falsified news graphics that have been available since at least 2016, and its background image of cooked rats was taken at a market in Thailand in 2007. "There are no recent legitimate media reports covering rat meat being disguised as chicken in the U.S.," the publication reiterates. PolitiFact points out that this story first came out leading up to the Super Bowl six years ago, suggesting that it's a fake news trend surrounding an occasion known for record wing consumption.

Despite the conspiracy theory's wide circulation, many TikTok users were quick to call out the falsehood. Comparing the video to something that might be seen on satirical website, The Onion, commenters criticized the video's creator for failing to provide a credible source. One urged the uploader to "stop spreading falsehoods," echoed by another who slammed them for distributing misinformation. Later, in the comments section, @qu33nbeeee claimed that the video was simply "for entertainment." Finally, other users took the situation more lightly, joking that they'll eat any kind of meat as long as it is seasoned or dunked into a generous helping of barbecue sauce.