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What chicken nuggets are made of

This pink goop. (Warning: revolting. And I say that as someone who has always loved chicken nuggets.)

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 3:39 PM ET
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This doesn't surprise me, and it also doesn't deter me from my love for chicken nuggets. But when someone like McDonalds says McNuggets are made from "carefully deboned chicken breast meat", how does that square with this article that says "all fast food chicken" is made from "bones, eyes, guts, and all"? Is McDonald's just flat out lying -- and if so, shouldn't such claims be regulated?

Posted by: vvf2 | October 4, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

that warning is not nearly enough. And we wonder sometimes why we're obese in the US as this is what most kids here are fed on a fairly regular basis.

Fix this and watch the obesity levels drop dramatically.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 4, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to click through on that link. I've always known that chicken nuggets aren't really "chicken meat" or that they're in some way gross, and so I avoid them. On the other hand, they're tasty as all get out, so every once in a while I'll have some and I don't want my occassional indulgence ruined by this stupid "reality" you're offering.

Posted by: MosBen | October 4, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

After a bit of googling, it appears that the "source" Ezra's link quotes is actually a cut-and-paste job from a chain e-mail that's been going around. did the research and found it to be a mixture of true and false information. (Mechanically separated meat is a real and genuinely disgusting thing used in artifically formed products -- but it's not the primary process, meat isn't "soaked" in ammonia, it's not used for "all fast food", and it has to be labeled as such on product ingredients. The process has also apparently been banned for beef products following the mad cow scare.)

So, a worthwhile conversation given the horrors of the food industry, but reader beware on the particular source of this link.

Posted by: vvf2 | October 4, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Is this more fattening than "normal" chicken meat? I'm not sure how I see this as the source of the problem for obesity. I'd wager the fried outer "shell" of the nuggets, the fries, and the sugary drinks are more likely culprits.

Although "gross," couldn't one look at this and say its a good thing that we don't waste any part of the animals we kill for food? If you kill something for food, throwing away things that could be eaten seems worse than eating it to me. Unless, someone can explain to me why its particularly unhealthy, (the dye? the artificial flavor?), I'm not clearly seeing the problem.

And how does this look any worse than sausage being made? The sausage factory is never pretty. Many local places sell and serve tripe, brain, tongue, feet, etc. I don't think this seems any worse.

Would it be better if we killed a chicken, ate the breast, wing, thigh, etc., then just threw the rest in the garbage?

Posted by: Nylund154 | October 4, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

It looks like the stuff from Ghostbusters II.

Posted by: russell1820 | October 4, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Chicken Nuggets = Soilant Pink

As someone who likes to make sauasage at home, this isn't that far away from 'traditional' sausage. Most of the ewwww-factor come from the industrial nature of the process that requires the introduction of synthetic and artifically-produced (e.g. chemicals) products to not kill customers following processing millions of pounds of the stuff.

As a non-vegetarian, I'm also happy they're using more of the animal than would be normal from what we usually eat at home. This is no different than what humans had to do with all food animals throughout history, expect for the industrial ewwww factor.

Posted by: Jaycal | October 4, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Good job, vvf2. It looked hoaxish, so I'm surprised that Esra posted it without any credible sources.

Posted by: alekdavis | October 4, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Snopes: "Contrary to what is claimed above, the process does not involve the grinding up of entire animal carcasses into one large, amorphous glob of meat; it is a technique for removing what is left on the bones of a carcass after all the other processing has been completed. [And] poultry processors do not routinely 'soak' MSP in ammonia."

Posted by: MrJM | October 4, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

people are actually quibbling over the process used, for making these things?
whatever process is used, it is revolting.

let animals live,
and find other things to eat.

Posted by: jkaren | October 4, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Reminds me of how Hot Dogs are made.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | October 5, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Why is the post re-circulating a viral email without checking your facts? Even has an entry about the claims in this piece.

Anyone who took the time to read the blog above should go to this link:

Yes -- it's true. Poultry is sometimes mechanically separated and it is called MSP. This process is regulated and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USDA posts information about MSP on its Web site too. Using technologies like these can help keep meat and poultry products affordable and prevent the waste that would occur through hand trimming.

However, it is NOT commonly used in chicken nuggets. It is used in some processed meat and poultry products and when MSP is used, it is included ingredient statement.

With a few clicks of Google, this paper could have set the record straight but instead you chose to fuel an internet rumor. You owe your readers better.

Janet Riley, American Meat Institute, Washington, DC

Posted by: mdpostreader | October 7, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Yawn. Get the facts: and

Posted by: deniscollins | October 7, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

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