Kentucky Fried Chicken is taking action against three Chinese firms that tried to hurt its reputation by spreading false rumours claiming the fast food giant uses eight-legged chickens.

KFC has accused the Chinese companies of spreading the false rumours using their social media account on mobile app, WeChat.

The rumours have reportedly spread across at least 4,000 posts now.

According to the rumours, KFC was said to be using genetically modified chicken that has six wings and eight legs.

"This not only seriously misled consumers, but also hurt our brand," said Qu Cuirong, KFC China's president, reported BBC News.

Seeking a compensation of 1.5m yuan (£159,000), as well as an apology from each of the three Chinese companies, KFC filed a case at a Shanghai court.

"The stepped-up efforts by the government in recent years to purify the online environment, as well as some judicial interpretations, have offered us confidence and weapons," said Cuirong.

The companies accused of spreading the rumours, include: Shanxi Weilukuang Technology Company Ltd, Taiyuan Zero Point Technology Company and Yingchenanzhi Success and Culture Communication Ltd.

Yum Brands, the owner of fast food chains, like KFC and Pizza Hut, suffered a big blow in sales and profits after a food security scare in China in 2014.

The scare followed after Shanghai Husi Food, a supplier to KFC and Pizza Hut, was alleged to have been selling old meat past expiry dates.

Yum Brands later apologised to customers and removed all concerned products off the shelves.

The company later terminated its relationship with the owner of Shanghai Husi, OSI Group.