Modern myths are weird. One of them says that we changed our name to KFC because we couldn’t use the word “chicken” anymore. Absurd. Chicken, chicken, chicken. See? We are still called Kentucky Fried Chicken; we started using KFC ’cause it was fewer syllables. Continue reading below to have this myth further dispelled.
In 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken decided on a name change to KFC. Why, after 39 successful years, would a world-famous restaurant chain change its name?
Maybe because KFC is just easier to say with your mouth full. Or maybe KFC fits better on signs. In reality, we wanted to let our customers know that we had more for them to enjoy than just fried chicken, and many were already calling us KFC, as it was much easier to say.
Truth is, we didn’t do a great job at explaining the KFC name change, which left the door open for folks to get creative with the reason. And boy did they! Shortly after the name change, an email chain letter—it was 1991, remember—began to spread the rumor that Kentucky Fried Chicken used genetically modified chickens and was forced to remove the word “chicken” from its name.
We can put those rumors to rest. We’ve always used 100% real chicken. Our chickens come from American family farms—the same farms that supply the brands you would buy at any grocery store—and are raised without artificial hormones or steroids, which is a federal regulation.
So let’s get straight to the point: Can KFC say “chicken”? We’re still Kentucky Fried Chicken®, registered trademark and all. We continue to show our pride in fried and follow the Colonel’s high standards for frying chicken, even after 75 years. Not only can KFC definitely say “chicken,” KFC means the world’s best fried chicken.
You don’t need to be a Colonel to know that making great fried chicken starts with great chickens. And I’m very particular about our chickens, ensuring they don’t get treated with artificial hormones or steroids. You can read more about it below.
There’s a common misconception that chicken restaurants like KFC are trying to raise larger chickens to make more profit. This notion surely fed into the Great KFC Mutant Chicken Myth—the Internet hoax that claimed that KFC used “mutant chickens”—as well as false claims that KFC bulks up chickens with added hormones and steroids. This couldn’t be further from the truth since KFC actually pays a premium price per pound for smaller chickens than you’ll find in your local grocery store because we believe they are far more tender and flavorful. Furthermore, FDA regulations prohibit adding hormones and steroids to all poultry in the United States, and KFC chickens are USDA inspected for quality before they’re delivered to our kitchens.
So the answer to the question, “Does KFC use artificial hormones or steroids?” is a resounding no! At Kentucky Fried Chicken you won’t find any artificial steroids or hormones in our chicken. In fact, less than 10% of chickens meet the high standards for KFC poultry. Our chickens are raised humanely on US farms overseen by respected and established poultry producers like Tyson Foods, Inc. In addition, our chickens must pass 30 KFC quality checks between US farms and your dinner table.
Unlike with chicken buckets and American flags, bigger doesn’t always equal better, which is why you can rest assured that KFC serves 100% real chicken, free of added hormones and steroids—Colonel Quality Guaranteed.
Nothing makes me madder than a bunch of unfounded rumors about where KFC chickens come from. So… short answer: all KFC chickens are born and raised right here in the USA. Long answer: read below.
The Internet is good for lots of things: cat videos, questionable medical diagnoses, and wildly imaginative urban legends, including the KFC mutant chicken myth. This myth has been perpetuated over several decades by a widely circulated email hoax. The hoax claimed that Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC because it was forced to eliminate the word “chicken” from its brand name—purportedly because KFC meat came from “mutant chickens” with extra legs and no beaks.
We can set the record straight: no mutated or genetically engineered chickens are involved in making our delicious KFC chicken. Just 100% real chicken from US farms, which have to pass over 30 quality checks and USDA inspection before being hand-prepared by one of our cooks. Ultimately, less than 10% of chickens meet KFC’s high standards for quality, which includes no artificial hormones or steroids—a federal regulation.
As with all chicken sold in the United States, KFC chickens are bred using age-old techniques to produce healthy birds and the high-quality products that our customers expect. They’re also raised humanely in a cage-free environment on trusted American family farms—the same that supply your local supermarket—based on standards established in consultation with our Animal Welfare Advisory Council. In addition, KFC chicken farms must adhere to parent company Yum! Brands’ Supplier Code of Conduct, which helps maintain the ethical sourcing and supply of our food.
So let’s put the Great KFC Mutant Chicken Myth to rest, shall we? Though urban legends about mutated KFC meat are good for a laugh, on a KFC chicken farm, the chicken is 100% real—just like the Colonel’s time-honored secret recipe.