Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC, is a fast-food restaurant that offers mouth-watering chicken meals.
The restaurant has several different types of chicken meals available.
You can get big breasts or small wings with different flavors based on what you’re craving.
When you bite into KFC chicken, you may wonder if it’s real or fake.
Here’s what you need to know about KFC chicken.
Is KFC Chicken Real?
Yes, according to KFC’s company guidelines, they use 100% real chicken in their meals.
Beyond that, KFC invests a lot in making sure that the chickens they use are up to their high standards.
For one, they get chickens from US farms.
This cuts down costs since they don’t have to import them from another country, and it also means that they’re a lot fresher
Before the chicken arrives at their restaurants, each one goes through a USDA inspection.
The inspection determines whether the chicken is high enough quality for their needs.
If it isn’t, KFC doesn’t use it.
If it does pass inspection, the chicken then goes to the restaurant for preparation.
When you bite into a meal at KFC, you can have confidence in knowing that it’s 100% real chicken.
Does KFC Use Chickens Filled With Hormones?
You may have a concern that the chicken you’re eating has hormones in them.
Some farmers pump their chickens with growth hormones to produce more meat.
That doesn’t occur in the United States, however, because the USDA specifically forbids farmers from giving their chickens steroids.
Since there’s a ban on it, no one can sell or buy chickens with artificial growth hormones in the US.
As such, KFC uses chicken that is 100% hormone and steroid-free, so you don’t have to worry about ingesting any artificial hormones when you eat their chicken meals.
Does The Chicken At KFC Have Antibiotics?
Although the chicken at KFC doesn’t have hormones, they did at one point have antibiotics in them.
That’s since changed.
On January 1st, 2019, KFC switched to using chickens that weren’t given antibiotics.
Eating food that contains antibiotics is problematic because there is a higher chance of that food containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Antibiotics were once the go-to method to kill bacteria and stop many diseases, but over time, bacteria have adapted.
Some strains of bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics.
The infections from bacteria resistant to antibiotics are much more difficult to treat and therefore more dangerous.
This problem becomes worse when food animals are also given antibiotics.
That’s because the food animals might have bacteria in their guts.
When they’re given antibiotics, the bacteria in their guts have a chance to become resistant to them.
When that animal gets slaughtered and sent to a restaurant or grocery store, a person comes into contact with it.
There’s a chance that the bacteria is still in the meat.
If the individual doesn’t cook it well or the restaurant doesn’t cook it well, the bacteria remain alive.
Once they ingest the meat, the bacteria get into their system, making them sick.
Since the bacteria became resistant in the animal’s gut, it’s also now resistant to antibiotics that the person receives at a hospital.
This person could become more and more ill until their body fights off the infection or the doctors find another way to kill the bacteria.
Since it’s possible to die from bacterial infections, there’s a chance that someone infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics will die.
Luckily, you no longer have to worry about eating chicken that has antibiotics in them when you eat KFC chicken.
They only use chickens that are free of antibiotics or that receive antibiotics that aren’t used in human medicine.
Does KFC Support Animal Wellness?
Since KFC uses chicken meat, you may wonder if they support practices of animal wellness.
Because they’re part of the Yum! brand, they do.
The Yum! brand has five aspects of animal wellness that they focus on, which they call Freedoms Those Freedoms include:
- Freedom from Fear & Distress
- Freedom to Express Normal Behavior
- Freedom from Pain, Injury, or Disease
- Freedom from Discomfort
- Freedom from Hunger & Thirst
The company focuses on doing business with farmers that adhere to these freedoms.
In 2003, Yum! even created an Animal Welfare Advisory Council which helps oversee that their restaurants are using ingredients that they approve of.
While 2019 was a big year for KFC in switching chickens from those that had antibiotics to those that didn’t or used antibiotics that aren’t important to human medicine, it also took things a step further.
In 2020, KFC announced its global chicken key welfare indicators.
These indicators help the chain determine whether the chickens match their standards for animal wellness.
The Yum! brand intends to use that analysis and data for the rest of the restaurant chains under its umbrella, too.
KFC looks at the following indicators to determine whether the chickens meet their standards or not for animal wellness.
One of the indicators of animal wellness is mobility.
Not all chicken farms allow their chickens to roam as they want.
Some restrict their movements.
They might even keep them in cages for most, if not all, of their life.
This decreases their wellness since they’re essentially prisoners from birth to slaughterhouse.
When chickens can move around, they’re able to get some exercise.
Their mental health is also better since they can do the things that their biology wants them to do.
KFC pays close attention to how much the farmers allow their chickens to move around when deciding whether to enter into a partnership with them or not.
2. Chicken Health
Another important indicator that KFC uses to determine whether the chicken matches their standards for animal wellness or not is their overall health.
It can sometimes be obvious when a chicken isn’t healthy.
They might not have a lot of energy, their feathers may seem dirty or not their usual fluffy, and they may have cloudy eyes.
However, sometimes an ill chicken isn’t obvious.
KFC pays attention to how farmers care for their chickens.
If the majority of their chickens are in good health, this indicates that the farmers are treating them well.
It’s likely that the chickens live in sanitary conditions and can move around with ease.
It also means that if one is sick, then the farmer takes care of them or separates them from the others to preserve the health of the flock.
If the farm’s chickens are all in good health, KFC feels comfortable doing business with them.
3. Minimization Of Medical Intervention
If the chickens are in good health, they won’t need many medical interventions.
This is another factor that KFC looks into before deciding whether to do business with a farm or not.
Because they don’t want to use chickens that have antibiotics used in human medicine, they need to ensure that the chickens they’re buying receive little medical care.
This doesn’t mean that they want the farmers to neglect their chickens.
Rather, they expect farmers to keep the chicken’s environment clean and sanitary.
By limiting the exposure to disease, they can ensure that the chickens remain healthy.
When they’re in healthier conditions, there’s less chance of them developing a disease that needs antibiotics to cure it.
Few medical interventions also indicate that the chickens have positive mental health.
When they’re not happy, then they might injure themselves.
For example, if the farm cages their chickens, then the chickens may try to break out of the cage.
They’ll likely injure themselves in the process.
The farmer will then need to bring a vet over to take care of the chicken.
Finally, it also shows KFC whether or not the farm is feeding their chickens well.
If the chickens aren’t receiving good food, then they’ll become malnourished.
This can also lead to disease and injuries since they’re weak.
If the farm can show that its chickens didn’t need very many medical interventions, KFC may do business with them.
4. Chicken Mortality
A big indicator that KFC looks into to determine if a farm matches their level of animal wellness standards is the farm’s chicken mortality rate.
This rate indicates how many chickens die in the farm’s care.
If the rate is high, there is clearly a problem.
It could be due to the unsanitary conditions that the farm forces the chickens to live in.
It could be due to small cages or roosts.
If the area is too small, then the chickens might start to fight one another for space.
Unprotected chicken farms may also be victims of foxes and other predators.
Finally, it could indicate problems with feeding.
If the chickens are unhappy or unwell, then they might not eat a lot of food.
They could starve to death.
The food might even be the problem.
If the farm has a high chicken mortality rate, KFC likely won’t have an interest in doing business with them.
5. Mental And Physical Stress
A final indicator that KFC uses to determine whether a farm matches its standards for animal wellness is the mental and physical stress that a chicken goes through on the farm.
They want to do business with farms that let chickens do what chickens do.
When chickens can forage and move around, they’re happy.
When they’re kept in a cage, then they’re not happy.
It causes them physical and mental stress.
The same goes for an environment that they deem dangerous.
If the chickens undergo mishandling or have rough treatment, that will affect their stress levels.
The amount of stress that they undergo during the slaughter process is also important.
KFC wants to support farms that keep their chickens calm and happy.
Does KFC Have Plant-Based Chicken?
Yes, KFC does have plant-based chicken.
KFC recently partnered with Beyond Meat to make plant-based chicken meals.
Its Beyond Fried Chicken meals are made from plants rather than animals.
In particular, they’re made out of soy, wheat, and several other ingredients.
However, it’s worth mentioning that KFC’s plant-based chicken may not be ideal for vegans.
That’s because they cook the plant-based “chicken” in the same friers that they cook regular chicken.
If vegans or vegetarians have concerns about cross-contamination, it may not be worth eating Beyond Fried Chicken.
However, if you don’t mind that the meal was in the same frier as chicken, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Beyond Fried Chicken is also prepared in a similar way that they prepare their standard fried chicken.
A cook fries it in a fryer, and then covers it in KFC’s signature herbs and spices recipe.
While KFC does offer a plant-based chicken option, it isn’t technically considered vegan or vegetarian since it’s cooked in the same fryer as chicken.
Does KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken Have Nuts?
If you have a nut allergy, then you may have some concern over whether the plant-based chicken has nuts or not.
After all, many plant-based products use nuts.
Almond and cashews, for example, are two popular nuts used in plant-based products.
The good news is that KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken does not contain nuts.
If you have a nut allergy, you can eat Beyond Fried Chicken without worry.
Does KFC Have Any Vegan Or Vegetarian Sides?
While KFC does have a plant-based chicken meal, you may also wonder if you can enjoy some sides along with it.
Because KFC prepares its food using fryers and other tools that come into contact with meat, they can’t guarantee that their food is vegan.
This is also true because the people preparing plant-based food also prepare meat.
Because of that, they don’t have any vegan sides.
That said, they do have some vegetarian side options.
Some of those include green beans, corn on the cob, BBQ-baked beans, and sweet kernel corn.
If you’re a vegan that doesn’t mind if their food came into contact with meat, some of those sides are also great for you.
Does KFC Have Dark Or White Chicken Meat?
KFC has both dark and white chicken meat.
KFC serves several parts of a chicken.
You can buy wings, thighs, and chicken breasts on their menu.
The type of cut, or body part, that you eat determines whether you’re eating white or dark meat.
White meat is the chicken breast and wings.
Dark meat is the thighs and drumsticks.
White meat gets its name because it’s typically lighter in color.
That’s because it doesn’t have a lot of red fibers running through it.
Dark meat gets its name because it’s darker in color due to the red fibers running through it.
Red fibers are muscle fibers that chickens use when standing.
They tend to be fattier than the other main type of muscle fibers which are white.
Red fibers get their energy from fat and the chicken’s bloodstream, hence the name.
Since red fibers use fat, they tend to be juicier and more flavorful.
That’s why dark meat tends to be more flavorful than white meat.
However, it also means that you’re eating more fat.
White meat is a little healthier since it contains fewer calories than dark meat.
However, dark meat is a great source of zinc, iron, and vitamin C.
The great thing about KFC is that you can get both in the same bucket meal.
KFC uses 100% real chicken in its meals.
It even ensures that the chickens it uses are free from hormones and antibiotics that are frequently used in human medicine.
They also have high standards in terms of animal wellness to ensure they’re using the healthiest chicken meat possible.