Court ruling wrongly shared as proof KFC is ‘Haram’, ‘anti-Islamic’

Ruling makes no mention of KFC burgers not being 100% chicken

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Claim: A WhatsApp forward chain message claims that international fast food chain KFC was found guilty of concealing the fact that its burgers are not 100% chicken in a recent court case. The message — which was accompanied by a link to a report on the Courthouse News Service website — further claims that KFC is anti-Islamic and that an Islamic body has rescinded a certificate previously granted to KFC warranting that its products are ‘Halal’.

Fact: The viral text has resurfaced online periodically over the course of the past five years and has little to no truth to it. The Courthouse News link in the text leads to an Illinois court case filed by KFC franchisee Afzal Lokhandwala over the chain’s instructions to remove ‘Halal’ branding on products as franchises are prohibited from making religious claims in advertising. The outcome of that case does not, however, suggest that KFC products are not ‘Halal’ or indeed not 100% chicken. 

On 20 May 2022, Soch Fact Check was forwarded a viral WhatsApp chain message alleging that KFC had been found guilty of concealing the fact that its burgers are not made from 100% chicken.

The content of the viral WhatsApp text message is reproduced as follows:

KFC has lost its case after years of trying to conceal that its burgers are 100% chicken.
It has now been found guilty as only 15% is chicken and the remaining 85% is not even good for consuming but for dogs.
The council of Islamic justice has withdrawn its guarantee certificate as it also found that even the spices, ketchup and mayonnaise are mixed and made from grease of pork.
This is in addition to that the company is anti Islamic
Please share so muslims would know and boycott the products of this company
Forwarded as recieved.
We have for a long time been warning the ummah KFC is Haraam.You are feeding your family Haraam.send as received
https://www.courthousenews.com/kfc-franchisee-loses-fight-to-market-chicken-as-muslim-friendly/

Fact or fiction?

The consumption of pork and pork products is prohibited under Islamic dietary laws.

Soch Fact Check reviewed the link to the Courthouse News report included in the viral message. The report pertains to Case No. 17-cv-5394 — a legal case between Afzal Lokhandwala and KFC Corporation in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Eastern Division) — under Judge John Robert Blakey.

Lokhandwala had sued KFC for breaching a contract which allegedly permitted him to market food at his KFC franchises as ‘Halal’, or permissible. In response, KFC argued that franchises are prohibited from making religious claims about food products, as per a 2009 KFC policy. The policy was cited by a lawyer from KFC’s corporate headquarters, who advised Lokhandwala to stop marketing KFC products as ‘Halal’.

In his 23 January 2018 ruling in the case, Judge Blakey wrote, “Defendant [KFC] can enforce the franchise agreement at any time, regardless of any past failures to enforce or past contradictory practices” and that the “Defendant has every right to bar Plaintiff [Lokhandwala] from advertising his products as Halal, even if Defendant allowed that advertising in the past.”

The case, therefore, was dismissed. It was reported here, here, and here, and also discussed in the Reader’s Digest.

The outcome of the Lokhandwala-KFC case does not, however, suggest that KFC products are not ‘Halal’ or indeed not 100% chicken. 

The Indian Muslim Welfare Society (IMWS) in the December 2018 issue of its monthly Paigaam magazine referred to the viral message in question, writing that KFC lists its ‘Halal’ restaurants and criteria on its website, has proper criteria, and has “openly identified their Halal procedures and accreditations”.

Indonesian newspaper Kopmas in 2021 quoted Justinus Dalimin Juwono — the director of KFC Indonesia’s brand owner, PT Fast Food Indonesia Tbk (FAST) — as saying the reports were “absolutely not true and there is no basis either”.

Muti Arintawati, the executive director for Indonesia’s food inspection authority, Lembaga Pengkajian Pangan Obat-obatan dan Kosmetika Majelis Ulama Indonesia (LPPOM MUI), also termed the viral text as baseless and “irresponsible information”, urging people not to share it.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), also known as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, flagged the same message and urged people to “verify the source of any message or information received on social media before sharing it with others”, according to a report by Singaporean media company BERITA Mediacorp.

The Facebook page of UK-based Halal or Haram — a website that claims to help the Muslims make the right dietary choice in accordance with Islamic rules — also wrote about the text message, stating “From our research we can’t find the source for the following chain message.” In Britain, there are over 130 outlets that claim to sell ‘Halal’-certified products, according to KFC UK.

Furthermore, the viral message in question refers to a ‘Council of Islamic Justice’, but based on Soch Fact Checks investigation into the matter, no such organisation exists anywhere in the world.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for Facebook posts in different time periods using the search term, “KFC has lost its case.”

The search turned up five posts that garnered more than 4,000 interactions over 30 days. In the last 12 months, on the other hand, there were 33 relevant posts that received 6,445 interactions; over the past seven years, around 175 relevant posts have surfaced, receiving close to 11,800 interactions.

The claim has appeared on numerous social media platforms across the years. Engagement surrounding the aforementioned search term peaked on the following dates: 19 January 2015, 30 March 2016, 26 May 2017, 10 September 2018, 12 June 2019, 24 March 2020, 5 April 2021, 29 September 2021, and 9 April 2022.

A verified Facebook page, ‘Abukar Awale’, also posted the claim in 2021 and that was shared more than 500 times.

Interestingly, a Change.org petition to former Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid also mentions the same claims.

An image stating “KFC has lost its case” with a boycott sign across it has also started appearing on social media platforms, such as here, here, and here. Facebook page ‘News Curatorsshared the same photo with the caption containing information about the Illinois court case.

The misleading text appeared on Facebook recently here and here. In the past, it has appeared with unrelated content, as well as accompanied by different visuals (here, here, here, and here), as shown below. Some posts replaced KFC with McDonald’s, alleging that McDonald’s has “lost its case”, such as here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Under one such post, McDonald’s replied, writing:

“We would like to clarify that our beef patties are indeed made of 100% beef, and what you’ve read is a hoax and definitely not true. McDonald’s Singapore is halal certified and will continue to remain the same. We hope this clarifies.”

Conclusion: The viral text in question has been circulating on the Internet for more than five years and has little to no truth to it. The Courthouse News link in the message leads to an Illinois court case filed by KFC franchisee Afzal Lokhandwala over the chain’s order to remove ‘Halal’ branding from advertising. There is nothing to suggest that KFC has lied about the ‘Halal’ certification of its products (where they are certified as such) or the meat content of its products.

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