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Shady Things About KFC's Menu

KFC bucket with chicken in background
KFC bucket with chicken in background - Pjohnson1/Getty Images

One of the biggest fast food chains on the planet, Kentucky Fried Chicken -- otherwise known as KFC -- has a whopping 30,000 locations worldwide. Across the United States, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Aruba, Italy, France, and more, the employees in the kitchens of KFC are always hard at work, hand-breading and frying chicken cutlets for the masses.

But while we as consumers see near-perfect images of delicious-looking nuggets, crispy sandwiches, and heaping fried chicken buckets while perusing the KFC menu, things aren't always sunshine and rainbows when it comes to some of our favorite menu items from the franchise. There are some undeniably questionable incidents, prices, and ingredients lurking behind the scenes at Kentucky Fried Chicken that you may want to be aware of before placing your next order. From chicken cutlets with organs intact to glowing green side dishes and dirty preparatory stations, here are some rather shady things about the KFC menu.

Read more: Ranking Fast Food Fried Chicken Sandwiches From Worst To First

The Chizza Is Being Called Majorly Overpriced

KFC's Chizza
KFC's Chizza - @the_southern_snack / Instagram

How does a hunk of crispy chicken with a slathering of sauce and melted pizza toppings sound? Whether or not this description attracts you, this combination does exist thanks to KFC. Aptly named "The Chizza," the chicken-pizza mash-up has been a hit at international KFC locations for years but wasn't introduced in select outlets across the United States until February 2024.

The American consumer opinion regarding this newly-introduced item seems split: Some find it delicious, others subpar. However, customers seem to universally agree on one thing: the Chizza is too expensive. "When I heard of this trash chicken parm I checked their app," said a user on Reddit. "As soon as I saw the price I laughed and laughed. No f****** way." The Chizza, which is going for around $10 (or more) depending on location, is raising eyebrows for its price tag. Consumers feel the product is an up-sale for what you actually get; a relatively small amount of chicken with a sprinkling of cheap toppings. Under one YouTube review of the product, one commenter said: "I suspect that KFC added a dollar's worth of pepperoni, sauce, and cheese to three dollars' worth of fried chicken to distract their customers from the fact that the Chizza is a massive rip-off." Ouch.

Some Locations Allegedly Still Use Latex Gloves

Man putting on gloves
Man putting on gloves - Wakila/Getty Images

Latex is often found in balloons, bandages, and yes -- gloves. While still widely used in hospitals, latex gloves have been phased out in the food handling industry due to the danger they present for those with allergies. However, according to a more recent post on Reddit under the subreddit r/Allergies, at least one KFC location is still using latex gloves without disclosing that they are doing so. This caused a frightening reaction for one consumer.

" ... turns out KFC uses latex gloves to handle the food," said the poster after doing extensive research into what had caused their allergies to flare up after eating from the chain. "That was my trigger. I'm trying to find out if this is something that should be disclosed. If not then it clearly needs to!" Throngs of concerned users hopped on to show their support. "Why does anyone use latex gloves anymore? (Esp a huge company!) It's such a common allergy!" said one, while others speculated as to whether or not it was a franchised location rather than a corporate one that had allowed the slip-up. This is certainly a possibility, seeing as the KFC official website assures that the gloves used in its kitchens are plastic -- but still, if you or your family members have an allergy, it might be worth confirming that your local KFC kitchen is following this guideline before ordering.

Employees Claim Expiration Dates Aren't Always Followed

Person eating KFC chicken
Person eating KFC chicken - YUSRA BEGAM/Shutterstock

Every food has a point at which it becomes unsafe to eat. How closely individuals follow stamped-on recommended expiration dates in home cooking is a personal choice; one that often requires taking into account the product's sight and smell as well. In restaurants, the consumer's ability to make judgment calls regarding food safety is stripped -- and so they place their trust in those cooking their food, hoping these aspects will similarly be taken into account during the preparatory process.

But at KFC, this trust may be misplaced. Countless employees report instances in which management has encouraged the keeping and serving of questionable-looking chicken and other products. "I just quit KFC," reads a confessional on Reddit, "and as a cook, I would sniff every bag of chicken I opened and if they didn't smell right I threw them away regardless of the exp date. I was written up on several occasions ... even after having my manager smell the bag and her gagging at the smell." Sadly, similar iffy scenarios are plentiful and reported across platforms regarding KFC ... but what you will do with this information going forward is up to you.

Not All The Chicken Comes In Fresh

Hand holding bucket of popcorn chicken
Hand holding bucket of popcorn chicken - @madelsantamaria / Instagram

It's KFC's claim to fame: the franchise's chicken comes fresh on a truck to be hand-breaded in-store. It's a refreshing taste of the old-fashioned in a world full of pre-frozen products, and the promise of receiving something hand-crafted makes ordering from the chain more attractive. But while this level of freshness has been publicized so highly, it hasn't applied to every product on the KFC menu over the years. A surprising number of items have come in frozen, according to workers: from the currently-offered chicken nuggets, all the way down to the now-discontinued bites, wings, strips, and popcorn chicken.

"The only chicken that comes in frozen and needs to be defrosted would be the strips and the bites," admitted an alleged employee on Reddit when both were available. Another in a more recent discussion confirmed the same of two additional popular products, the hot wings and popcorn chicken, while yet another employee reported the same of the chain's current front-runner, the chicken nuggets. "The only 'pre-breaded' things are the nuggets and the popcorn chicken," they said, "cos they are in a freezer and then get chucked in the fryer when we need 'em." If freshness is your main desired quality in a KFC entrée, one of its standard fried chicken selections -- which is guaranteed to be hand-breaded raw -- is your best bet.

Sometimes Organs Are Left In The Chicken Entrées

Kidney inside KFC chicken
Kidney inside KFC chicken - Positivefoodie / Facebook

When one bites down into a fried chicken tender, they hope to find a still-hot temperature, a pleasing crunch, and a savory flavor. What they hope not to find within the center of a chunk of delicious sizzling poultry? Why, a leftover body part, of course.

Yes, we're serious. Kidneys, spinal cords, and brains are just a few of the fun surprises select unlucky consumers have been met with after ordering KFC chicken over the years. "What's this thing in my fried chicken???" reads the title of a Reddit thread crafted by a shocked user, posted beside a photo of a shriveled, squiggly organ tucked within a cutlet. "It's part of the chicken's kidney," responds a user nonchalantly. "Google search KFC chicken kidney and you'll find several examples." Sure enough, evidence confirming the customer's bizarre, off-putting find litters the internet. "Why is the chicken cut up in such a way that the huge pieces are always wing plus spinal cord? I don't want to eat cooked spinal fluid," reads a comment under a separate thread, directed at a KFC employee. The worker responded: "To be honest I don't know, I actually had a customer complain about this exact thing. From then on I snapped the backbone of the breasts before breading them ... Several times I had to detach organs that were left over." Excuse us if we cut our chicken to check inside before eating it from here on out.

Chipotle Chicken That Was So Spicy, It Allegedly Damaged An Employee's Eyes

Worker handing order to customer
Worker handing order to customer - kckate16/Shutterstock

It was 2008 when KFC introduced a new poultry product called the Smoky Chipotle Crispy -- and it was proclaimed to be every bit as hot as the name suggested. Though it was only available for a limited time, employees weren't mourning its absence when it was ushered out of the kitchens for good. This is because, according to a shocking admission, the mixture used to flavor the Chipotle Chicken was so hot, that it was hazardous.

Employees described sinus discomfort, eye pain, and nausea stemming from the preparation and clean-up of the item on a Reddit thread. "Did you ever have to wash the bucket they made the now-discontinued chipotle chicken in?" asked one user, initiating the conversation. "When I worked there you had to cover your eyes and face...pouring that s*** down the sink unleashed a wall of fumes in what I can only describe as being maced. Tears were coming out, snot pouring out my nose, and once I started dry heaving." A second worker went on to admit that the spicy chicken dish had even put them in the hospital, " ... because the chipotle leftovers seeped through the glove onto my hand without me knowing ultimately ending up in my eye." Sheesh. For the safety of KFC employees everywhere, we kind of hope this one stays gone.

It's Suspected That The Neon Coleslaw Sold In Canada Was Dyed With Food Coloring

Canadian green coleslaw from KFC
Canadian green coleslaw from KFC - @HarroCarmen / X

For years, Canada enjoyed a specific style of coleslaw at its KFC restaurants -- a neon-green, creamy side made with pulverized bits of very, very brightly colored cabbage. For the most part, residents of the Great White North seemed to enjoy this specialized dish alongside their fried chicken buckets ... until 2017, when the franchise changed its infamous lime-green Canadian slaw to a toned-down variant matching that of its American restaurants. While some consumers were frustrated, others felt that, health-wise, the change may have been for the best. This is because some customers speculated that the impossibly green product was likely crafted using artificial food dye.

In a post on Quora, one self-proclaimed former restaurateur presented their theory behind the unforgettable hue. "Here's the reason why KFC's coleslaw used to be virtually neon green," they began. "In order to turn it THAT green ... it took ... food coloring. When people started to complain about food coloring and chemicals in food overall, KFC decided to get rid of the coloring and went with the more natural look. And that's how it's been ever since." While this claim cannot be substantiated via any formal statement from KFC, other platforms have hosted discussions declaring the likely reality of the scenario. Regardless, the chapter has closed on the radioactive-looking coleslaw ... at least for now.

The Pot Pies Are Made With Day Old Meat

Pot Pies for KFC
Pot Pies for KFC - @shinycquin / Instagram

KFC's yummy Pot Pies might be one of the most celebrated items on the franchise's menu, but the steaming, baked product is not without its dirt ... or should we say, its old chicken. According to a multitude of employee admissions sprinkled across online platforms, the baked, warm, meaty pies are made using day (or multiple days) old chopped chunks harvested from chicken cutlets that didn't sell.

"Every night at closing, the leftover fried chicken pieces that weren't sold are set out to cool, and the meat is picked off the bones by hand and shredded to use for these pies the next day," details one alleged worker on Reddit. While chicken one day old in and of itself doesn't sound too nefarious, another employee on a separate thread admitted to the fact that the day-old rule for the Pot Pies is sometimes extended. "The company policy [...] is to use the chicken from the night or two before." It's this last comment that causes us to pause. Perhaps day-old chicken could be considered acceptable in the center of a pie ... but two-day-old chicken? We'll just have to let you decide for yourself how permissible (or not) you find this.

If Your Mac & Cheese Is Crunchy, It Likely Means Its Old

Person eating KFC Mac & Cheese
Person eating KFC Mac & Cheese - KFC / Facebook

Sometimes you get a good bowl of mac and cheese from the popular chicken chain, sometimes you don't. Consistency issues regarding KFC's cheesy side dish are so well established, that they've become an unofficial consumer expectation. However, according to KFC employees, it's hardly the fresh bowls of the stuff that are the problem -- it's the old ones.

On a Reddit thread titled, one alleged employee responded to a complaint that the side comes with crunchy, unappealing noodles. "They either overcooked it or it sat out too long in the hot well. They're supposed to add water to it if it's too dry but, you know, not everyone does what they should." Another worker echoed this on another thread: "After sitting in the hot well for a while it gets to be like the way you described. It loses moisture and the bottom starts to burn a bit thus making it a bit crunchy." However, this particular user ended things with a word of helpful advice: "See if they have mac and cheese in one of the heating units. This is different because it's being heated all around with no air exposure due to it being wrapped up."

Their Plant-Based Nuggets Were Not Actually Certified Vegan

Hand holding beyond fried chicken nugget
Hand holding beyond fried chicken nugget - @rainbowbear9 / Instagram

It was January 2022 when KFC hopped on the meatless bandwagon. After a successful test run, KFC officially released its Beyond Fried Chicken plant-based nuggets, receiving praise from consumers and news outlets everywhere. However, despite the popularity of the poultry-free meat alternative, there was a dirty little secret that destroyed the effort for many. Despite popular belief, the "vegan" menu item was not vegan-approved. Why? It was fried using the same equipment -- and in the same frying oil -- as the regular chicken.

"Warning for Vegan/Vegetarian Customers," reads the title of a thread on Reddit written when the meatless nuggets were still being offered. "No, the Beyond nuggets cannot be considered Vegan/Vegetarian, they are cooked in the same oil as chicken ... it isn't just a location thing, they don't have dedicated fryers for Beyond at any of 'em. I can see them being discontinued very fast because the entire target audience won't eat them." While KFC's official website did disclose this fact, it was certainly not overly publicized -- leaving a bad taste in some consumer's mouths that had nothing to do with the plant-based product itself. Whether or not this did affect the nugget's eventual exit from the KFC menu is unclear. They may make a reappearance someday -- ideally, with a set of dedicated fryers.

Read the original article on Mashed.