Egypt this week encouraged people to eat chicken feet as a low-cost protein alternative at a time of rising food costs — by using a photoshopped image of soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, according to local media.
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In a since-deleted Facebook post, the country's National Nutrition Institute wrote that chicken feet are "rich in protein and save your budget," according to Al Jazeera Egypt. The accompanying photo showed Ronaldo smiling with what appeared to be a bowl of the dish.
Egyptian media organizations, including Saheeh Masr and matsda2sh, quickly called out the fake post. The photo of Ronaldo was taken in 2016, and in it he was actually eating chicken breast and vegetables.
The agency posted the same photo in early 2020, according to matsda2sh, a fact-checking platform.
Amid an economic crisis, food prices have sharply risen in Egypt over the last year, and "even the most low-cost meals are becoming more expensive to make," The Washington Post reported Monday.
In addition to the government, several publications, including some state-affiliated outlets, have also begun promoting the health and cost benefits of chicken feet.
The View From China
Chicken feet do have some nutritional value, offering protein in the form of collagen, plus fat and some vitamins and minerals, according to Healthline.
In many countries, including China, chicken feet are a popular delicacy. There, the dish is sold as a snack in stores, served cold, or offered as a soup or main meal. Different regions in China have different ways of flavoring the dish, which is interchangeably called phoenix claws, chicken claws, and chicken feet.
Earlier this year, high oil and food prices forced KFC in China to finally add chicken feet to its menu, CNN reported.
"We try to absorb this commodity price increase, with … full utilization of the chicken," Yum China CEO Joey Wat said.