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Urban myths about everyone’s favorite fast food companies

Taco Bell logo on building

Urban myths about businesses are common and largely nonsense, and fast food companies have been a major target.

The internet and social media make it easy for people to make things up.

Soon, they become reliable pieces of information, even though they're completely untrue.

Companies often end up spending vast amounts on PR and even court cases to try to tell the truth.

Fast food is an industry that is regularly targeted.

Here are some of the more far-fetched urban myths fast food companies have had to dispel.


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McDonald's Funds Terrorism

A long-held, and totally unfounded, claim is that McDonald's uses some of its vast earnings to fund terrorist activities.

The rumors originated in the late 80s when it was claimed McDonald's gave money to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) via a charity called Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID), which was set up to help families affected by the violence in Ireland.

The rumor was traced back to a CNN talk show where the company was praised for supporting employees through Individual Retirement Accounts, also known as IRAs.

The First Ronald McDonald Died after Choking on a McDonald's Burger

Ronald McDonald was the famous icon of McDonald's for many years.

The original man to play the clown was George Voorhis.

It was said Mr. Voorhis died after choking on a McDonald's burger called the Arch Deluxe sandwich.

McDonald's has come down hard on this, and even fired several employees in 1996 for discussing it with the press.

KFC uses "mutant chickens"

A commonly heard and completely made-up rumor is that Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC as a result of being told by the authorities the meat could not be called "chicken."

This was before the internet, but the rumor still spread that KFC used genetically modified animals with multiple legs, no feathers, and even more than one head.

(We're not sure why two-headed chickens would be useful - no one sits down to a bucket of fried chicken heads, do they?)

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Taco Bell uses horsemeat and sawdust

The sawdust thing is nonsense, but the horsemeat is partially true, although Taco Bell insists it was a mistake.

In 2013, the UK Food Standards Agency's routine tests found the beef Taco Bell had been using in some of its UK outlets was more than one percent horse meat.

This caused a major controversy, and Taco Bell issued a profound apology.

The company quickly ended its relationship with a wholesaler who had provided the meet.

Taco Bell stressed none of the meat ever reached America.

The controversy, which was not limited to Taco Bell and found several companies using horse meat, led to stricter quality control legislation.

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