Forget fake news, some are crying foul over fake chicken wings.
And at least one person is so upset about the “fraud” the food industry is perpetrating on the American public claiming chunks of white chicken breast meat are “boneless wings” he’s filed a federal lawsuit.
Aimen Halim of Chicago on Friday filed a lawsuit against Buffalo Wild Wings claiming the national chain restaurant is doing more than just taking a few naming liberties with its menu. It’s deliberately defrauding customers.
When Halim ordered boneless wings from an Illinois Buffalo Wild Wings outlet in January, he thought he was actually getting wing meat without bones, the lawsuit claims.
“Unbeknownst to plaintiff and other customers, the products are not wings at all,” the lawsuit says, “but instead, slices of chicken breast meat deep-fried like wings.”
Just frying and saucing a piece of chicken in the style of a wing doesn’t make it one, Halim claims.
“Indeed, the product are more akin, in comparison, to a chicken nugget rather than a chicken wing,” according to the lawsuit.
Wyoming’s Wing King Agrees
Some may say Halim may be taking his complaint about fake boneless wings to an absurd extreme, but there’s nothing absurd about calling out “boneless wings” as being anything but a traditional wing, said Trent Weitzel of Laramie, owner of the popular Weitzel’s Wings food trucks.
And he’d know. Weitzel isn’t just the king of Wyoming wings, he and his Double Dubs crew are the reigning Festival Favorite winners at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York.
As a wing purist, Weitzel said it’s wrong to call another cut of chicken a “boneless wing” and that you won’t find anything but traditional bone-in wings at Double Dubs.
“I think boneless wings are ridiculous,” he said, adding that when people ask for boneless wings he responds with, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“We don’t do any popcorn chicken, any chicken nuggets,” Weitzel added. “We’re a true traditional place for chicken wings. In fact, in Buffalo they’re not called ‘Buffalo wings,’ they’re just called wings.”
It’s true.— Buffalo Wild Wings (@BWWings) March 13, 2023
Our boneless wings are all white meat chicken.
Our hamburgers contain no ham.
Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo.
While purists say it’s about time boneless wings are called out for what they’re not, others say there’s just not much meat on this bone of contention.
Halim’s lawsuit has sparked a firestorm of social media debate that for some elicits passionate arguments.
For its part, Buffalo Wild Wings responded to the lawsuit saying Halim is right: Its boneless wings aren’t wings. But calling them that isn’t a deliberate attempt to dupe diners, the company says.
“It’s true,” Buffalo Wild Wings says in a Monday tweet. “Our boneless wings are all white meat chicken.”
It goes on to confirm that, “Our hamburgers contain no ham. Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo.”
Joyce Ford responded to the lawsuit on Facebook, commenting that it’s “just crazy. People will use any excuse to sue someone or someplace. Wth. Just don’t order them.”
Wendy Ginocchio added that it’s “crazy that anyone needed that explained to them,” while Andrew Larimore commented that the “dude is just looking for a quick payday. Everybody knows this.”
A Passionate Plea
While he hasn’t sued over the boneless wing phenomena, there’s perhaps nobody more passionate about eliminating a pervasive American food fraud than Ander Christensen of Lincoln, Nebraska.
He feels so strongly about it that he made a formal presentation to the Lincoln City Council in 2020 asking for official action to ban the practice of calling other parts of the chicken “boneless wings.”
Christensen told Cowboy State Daily that while he has “mixed feelings” about the lawsuit, “In my heart of hearts I do love what (Halim is) doing. I don’t like the targeting of any one individual restaurant, but if that’s what it takes to make a change …”
To the Lincoln City Council, he was clear about why he has such a problem with calling sauced-up chicken nuggets “boneless wings.”
“Nothing about boneless chicken wings actually come from the wing of a chicken,” he told the council. “We would be disgusted if a butcher were mislabeling their cuts of meats, but then we go on pretending as though the breast of a chicken is its wing?”
He presented some alternatives to calling deep fried and sauced chunks of chicken “boneless wings,” including:
• Buffalo-style chicken tenders
• Wet tenders
• Saucy nugs
“Boneless chicken wings are just chicken tenders – which are already boneless,” he said. “I don’t go and order boneless tacos. I don’t go and order boneless club sandwiches. I don’t ask for boneless auto repair.”
Christensen said that he’s since reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about what regulations there are for restaurants to make food claims and was told that “as long as the ingredients are listed underneath the name on the menu, then it’s legal.”
Legal or not, most people don’t know that boneless wings actually aren’t real wings that have been deboned somehow, he said.
“The name is misleading people,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “They’re not wing-style chicken nuggets or buffalo-style chicken whatever. They’re labeled as ‘boneless chicken wings,’ and that’s too misleading to be acceptable.”
Too the city council, Christensen said American’s have “been living a lie for far too long,” that perpetuating the boneless wing lie sends a wrong message to children and is part of a larger problem of demonizing meat consumption.
“We need to raise our children better,” he said. “Our children are raised being afraid of having bones attached to their meat. That’s where meat comes from. It grows on bones. We need to teach them that the wing of a chicken is from a chicken – and it’s delicious.”