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A story circulated some time ago, and it occasionally comes back to life within social media, that once a woman found a chicken head inside her child's chicken nuggets at McDonald's.

Photos

Did this really happen?

  • Welcome to Skeptics! Where did you find this claim? Perhaps you could link to the source. – P_S Dec 10 '14 at 10:31
  • That's the thing. I cannot find the original source..... – John Demetriou Dec 10 '14 at 10:32
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    I added a link to an old ABC story... – P_S Dec 10 '14 at 10:33
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    Also, there is an article about it on about.com, although it does not make any conclusions as to the veracity of the claim. – P_S Dec 10 '14 at 10:35
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    I've edited the title back. The proposed title is a "false dilemma". Hoax is not the only alternative explanation. – Oddthinking Dec 10 '14 at 12:52
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It was covered by ABC and referenced by Business Week. There's also three stories from the local paper which first broke the news:
Chicken Head Found In Wing Box Mother Still Dealing With Her Discovery.
What Harm, This Fouled-Up Fryer? (Peninsula Health District says that there's nothing physically wrong with eating a fried chicken head).
USDA Officer Says He Can't Explain Fried Chicken Head.
No Comment, Please Chicken Head Finder Lays Low.

So, I would say that it is true that a woman claimed to have found a chicken head in her meal, but how it got there is not known.
There's no reporting on any court case, although it might have happened too long after the event to be considered newsworthy. I looked for cases in the town's civil court with the name Ortega, but drew a blank. I might be looking in the wrong place, as I don't know if the civil court would be the correct place for such a hearing. As Snopes points out;

"Katherine Ortega has posed for a number of photos of her holding the chicken head, which may work against her if she tries to seek compensatory damages for psychological harm arising out of the incident. A jury will have a difficult time believing she is now nauseated by chicken or has difficulty sleeping after being presented with photographic evidence of her repeatedly and voluntarily handling the offensive item."

So, in all likelihood, there was a chicken head, but there was no court case.

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    Also worth noting it was found in a box of chicken wings not McNuggets are suggested in the question. – Jack Aidley Dec 10 '14 at 17:48

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