Break the Chain How To Get A Head in Fast Food Without Really Trying

Updated (2/5/2003) This piece of bizarre-but-true was ripped from the headlines in late 2000.


Subject: Fw: Food for thought

Shocking but True: Woman Discovers Chicken Head at McDonalds (See Attached Photo)

November 30, 2000, 01:00 PM

A customer at a McDonald's restaurant in Newport News, Va., got more than she bargained for when she received her order.

Katherine Ortega found a fried chicken's head in the box of chicken wings she ordered Wednesday.

Ortega said someone who wasn't looking closely could have easily mistaken the chicken's head for another piece of chicken, like the leg or a wing. The chicken's beak, the cone on top of its head and some feathers are visible.

Ortega said she wants to know how the chicken's head could have made it past inspectors and into the hands of a customer.

"I usually look at my food, but I shouldn't have to look that closely to see that," Ortega said. "My 5-year-old probably wouldn't have looked. He probably would have thought it was a chicken leg and eaten it."

The manager at McDonald's offered the Ortega's another order of chicken and offered to return the chicken's head to the distribution company.

Ortega declined.

The health department sent an inspector to the restaurant to look through the rest of the bag of chicken wings.

Officials didn't find anything unusual. The incident is being reported to the Department of Agriculture.

The McDonald's Corporation said it will look into the incident, stating that food safety is its top priority.

You can find this story at:

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Early versions of this chain contained a link to its source: an article on Portland, Oregon, KGW TV's web site. Not surprisingly, that nugget of verifiable information was quickly lost as the e-mail circulated. Also missing from later versions is a dateline that tells readers just how old this 'news' is. More than two years later, the e-mail continues to circulate. Even in cases where the link to KGW is still included, it is no longer valid.

But the story is basically true. McDonald's officials attribute the misplaced body part to "a manufacturing error." The product in question was not McDonald's popular chicken McNuggets, as later versions of the chain claim, but their short-lived "Mighty Wings." Weeks later, McDonald's discontinued Mighty Wings due to slow sales.

McDonald's is a popular subject of urban legends, boycotts, lies and other misinformation. Chain letters have a higher profile and longer life if they pick on the biggest of the big, and there is none bigger than Mickey-D's. This one is just fodder for the paranoia beast. Break this Chain!

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Category: Picture Imperfect
References: None

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