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Dec 5, 2013 by APRIL McCARTHY
Yet Another Reason To Avoid McDonald's - Your Chicken Order May Have An Unexpected Surprise

If you're still not convinced you should avoid McDonald's, here is yet another reason. Katherine Ortega took her 5-year-old son to a Newport McDonald's, where they bought a box of fried chicken wings (a special promotion). As she passed them around her dinner table, she realized that one of the wings wasn't a wing at all.

I'll Have A Side Order of Chicken McNoggin Please

What happened to Katherine Ortega in a Newport McDonald's is perhaps one of the most disturbing reports after being verified by the news station WVEC-TV in Newport as well as the Washington Post.

Many McDonald's franchises sell Mighty Wings as part of their Chicken & Fish menu.

One afternoon, Katherine Ortega brought home an order of the McDonald's wings. As she passed them around her dinner table, she realized that one of the wings wasn't a wing! She called WVEC-TV, Channel 13 in Newport News. They thought it was a hoax until they dispatched a cameraman to Ortega's home.

She called WVEC-TV, Channel 13 in Newport News. They thought it was a hoax until they dispatched a cameraman to Ortega's home.

"Our cameraman called in and said, 'The batter on the chicken head is the exact match of all the rest of the pieces of chicken,' " reported WVEC news director Jim Tellus.

Actual News Clipping From Newport News

The facts:

  • Reporters who were allowed to examine the head said that it looked real and that the fried batter matched the other wings and what would be on expected on such a product.
  • The woman allowed reporters to take video and photos of the head, which have not been discredited.
  • Ortega never went through with a lawsuit, but maintains the story to be true.

Damage Control

The franchise owner met to discuss the situation (translation: "How much do you want?"); and issued a sober statement promising a "thorough investigation" and that Ortega didn't return a call seeking comment; that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating.

The Ortegas at one point announced they had hired a lawyer and were contemplating a lawsuit against McDonald's. Legal experts didn't think the family would win an award much higher than a couple of thousand dollars because no one ate the piece or was physically harmed by it. Even in our litigious society, harm has to be demonstrated, and it's not enough just to claim "I was grossed out by this" to gain the big bucks, however any no lawsuit was pursued and no specific amount was settled or disclosed by either party

An enforcement officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who looked into the case was at a loss to explain how the head ended up in Ortega's order of wings. The first thing that happens in the processing of live chickens into poultry parts is their beheading, with the heads immediately being discarded. The carcasses then go on to the next stage (which is being dropped into the boiling water to de-feather them). Though the process is mostly mechanized, a plant operator helps with evisceration (the removal of the bird's internal organs) and an on-site USDA inspector is supposed to check each and every chicken. How both could have missed a chicken head going through is a mystery.

How Many More Reasons Are Needed To Stay Away From McDonald's?

Thanks to the transparency campaign initiated by McDonald's last year people are more familiar with the processing methods and ingredients that go into their menu. Recently we reported that consumers found out McDonald's french fries contain 17 ingredients.

Over a decade ago, after being plagued by health critics and flattening sales, they launched their biggest change to their menu in 30 years with a newly improved and modified salad menu. Consumers then found out that their Caesar salad with Chicken Premiere contained 18.4 grams of fat compared with 11.5 grams of fat in a standard cheeseburger. Yes, their salad had more fat than their cheeseburger.

Then of course there is the famous "pink slime" which was mostly beef containing ammonium hydroxide-treated ground connective tissue and meat scraps commonly used in dog and chicken food. Celebrity chef and safe food advocate Jamie Oliver featured the substance and called for its ban on the April 12, 2011 episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, which may have influenced McDonald's to stop using beef patties containing the filler.


April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.

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