Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Frankenstein Poultry Affair: Why Did Kentucky Fried Chicken Really Change Its Name?
Like most of the long-established and successful fast food franchises, Kentucky Fried Chicken has been the subject of a number of urban legends concerning its food or practices. Some of the myths are routinely transferred from one establishment to another, as, for instance, rumors of racist practices of Church’s Fried Chicken or Popeye’s being transferred to KFC, but others tend to stick to the fried chicken giant like the grease clings to your fingers. One of the more recent urban myths has to do with the name.
Kentucky Fried Chicken Changed its Name to KFC Because…
The U.S. government forced it to. Upon discovering that the Kentucky Fried Chicken being served was so full of additives, or so genetically manipulated, that it was actually Kentucky fried mystery meat, the U.S. government got so upset that it forced the company to change its name to KFC, since it wasn’t proper or legal to call such a product chicken. It is sometimes added that this government action was in response to a study done by the University of New Hampshire that showed that real chickens weren’t used in the product, but genetically modified animals with no beaks, feet, or even feathers were being used (no plucking!) Or that they were breeding birds with extra large breasts and multiple legs! One internet version claimed that these “genetically manipulated organisms” were being kept alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients, and their bone structure was shrunk to get more meat.
This is, of course, poppycock, and no such study ever took place. You should notice, as well, that in most versions of the myth no specific government department is ever named. These rumors were at their height from 1999 into the early 2000’s. To summarize: Kentucky Fried Chicken did Not “legally” have to change its name.
Just a modicum of thought concerning the details of the myth should be enough to convince you of its absurdity. One, is genetic science advanced enough to produce such chickens? No. Two, just ask yourself why in the world would it be deemed economical to use complicated feeding tubes and machines to pump blood and nutrients in order to keep thousands upon thousands of chicken-like creatures alive. It’s not just absurd, the whole thing is moronic.
The Real Reason Kentucky Fried Chicken Changed Its Name to KFC
The name of Kentucky Fried Chicken was changed to KFC in 1991 and the biggest reason that the company changed the name was because the public, starting in the 1980s, was becoming more health conscious and they wanted to play down the “fried” part of the name, since PR research suggested that people did not want to be reminded they were eating fried food. They couldn’t very well call it “Kentucky Chicken,” could they? Besides, people had already been calling it KFC for years.