An independent DNA test on a KFC chicken that which a Californian man claimed was a deep fried rat has proved the meal was chicken and not a rodent.
Photos of the strangely shaped food went viral after Devorise Dixon posted them on his Facebook page.
KFC hit out at the claims by the California native, saying pictures of the meal were a hoax. The fast food chain has now obtained definitive proof they did not serve a rat, but not after the pictures went around the world and did some damage to the brand, which has faced criticism over the quality of meat it has sold to customers in the past.
"Recently, a customer questioned the quality of a KFC product, and this received considerable publicity given the sensational nature of his claim," the company said in a statement to ABC News.
"The customer's attorney turned over the product in question for testing at an independent lab, and the results officially confirmed what KFC knew all along -- the product was chicken and not a rat as he claimed," the company added.
Posting the pictures Dixon wrote on Facebook: "It sent deep chills throughout my whole body! I've been feeling weird ever since. It's time for a lawyer, be safe don't eat fast food!"
However KFC has said it believes Dixon intended to deliberately deceive the public from the start. As evidence prior to the DNA test it supplied images of the offending food item to IBTimes UK from a second angle.
"The images the customer originally posted do not include this second angle because it clearly shows it is a piece of hand-breaded white meat chicken," the fast food chain said in a statement.
"Based on this, and the fact that he refuses to allow anyone to see the product, we are left to believe that he intended to deceive the public with this hoax and we are considering all options."