You might never eat a chicken nugget again

Processed chickenSay hello to mechanically separated chicken. It’s what all fast-food chicken is made from—things like chicken nuggets and patties. Also, the processed frozen chicken in the stores is made from it.

Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve—bones, eyes, guts, and all. it comes out looking like this.

There’s more: because it’s crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.

Mechanically separated chicken is a paste like substance created by forcing unstripped bones through a type of sieve to separate edible meat tissue (including tendons and muscle fiber from the bones. 

But, hey, at least it tastes good, right?


Update: Apparently this is all wrong.   See this for the correct information.

27 thoughts on “You might never eat a chicken nugget again”

  1. Yet more propoganda from the “DONT EAT IT CAUSE YOU MIGHT HURT ITS FEELINGS” crowd.

    I for one, am tired of the implication that I am an unfit parent because I don’t feed my kids free-range/non-antibiotic/organic/un-processed/food that from was raise by granola-eating hippies in hemp pants, from relaxed, contended animals that listen to Vivaldi and willingly give up their lives to be dinner (or even worse, plants that have a taste that would make an Ethiopian puke).

    I like Chicken Nuggets. In fact… Nugget form is my preference when eating chicken. (I find holding a chicken part in my hand while tearing the flesh from the bone with my teeth distatesful). My kids like Chicken Nuggets and have eaten them for years. Neither is overweight or unhealty.

    Whats next from the self-rightous food Nazis. An expose on how hamburger is ground up cow?


    • Nowhere in this post is it implied that you are not a fit parent, by all means you have the right to eat anything you wish, as well as the right to feed your kids whatever you see fit; but do not straw-man the other persons point of view.

  2. Half of this actually isn’t true. The chicken does go through a processor that removes the bones and eyes and things, some of it just gets through, not all of it, just some. And with the ammonia, that isn’t true either since ammonia is caustic and hazardous and pretty much toxic to eat. It is used in cleaning products and things afterall.

  3. “(I find holding a chicken part in my hand while tearing the flesh from the bone with my teeth distatesful).”

    You shouldn’t eat meat if that’s the case… disconnection from reality is unhealthy.

  4. Seems to me like “mechanically SEPARATED chicken” is inaccurate. I think “mechanically homogenized chicken” would be a better description.

  5. I like the chicken nuggets at McDonalds. Can’t have the ones here cause they’re non halal, so I’ll wait till I’m back in Malaysia to have my 10 pack. 😀

  6. The main ingredient of McDonalds chicken nuggets is corn. I hear there is a little chicken stuff in there. Can’t stand the things myself, even before this video that I’ve seen everywhere but still haven’t watched.

  7. Chick-fil-a’s “Chicken Nuggets” are real chicken breast cut into chunks. Oh, I can’t get enough Chick-fil-a. The one here in St. Louis puts through a ridiculous number of cars during lunch time. It’s good, real food.

  8. Cowracer…..You miss the whole point entirely. The point is that its not “Healthy” for you. Its filled with artificial flavors, dyes, etc that are bad for you. And over time those toxins will add up in your system and do you and your kids harm. Not to mention that they are deep fried in oil that is also nt good for you. If you want your kids to be healthy then by them a grilled chicken breast instead !

    • Jim,

      The point is… It’s propaganda and mis-information. Someone reads tripe (pun intended) like this, or how Chicken McNuggets are mostly corn, on the internet and they belive it AUTOMATICALLY! No finding out for yourselves, no fact-checking, just “I read it on the internet, so it HAS to be true”

      You wanna talk about “unhealthy” habits? Beliving everything you read on the internet is about the most unhealty thing you can do. “Soaked in Ammonia”? that is about the most asinine thing I have ever heard. I was Asst. Chief Engineer in a food plant, and I can assure you that ammonia is way too expensive (and dangerous) to use as a anti-microbial.

      I have no problems with anyone who does not want to eat processed food. My proble is when they use distortions and outright lies to try and prove that their opinions should be held by EVERYONE.

      As Danial Monyihan said, everyone is entitled to their own opionions, but not to their own facts. Learn to think for yourself.


      • Using “distortions and outright lies to prove that their opinions should be held by EVERYONE” sounds like the Liberal’s mindset.

        I agree with you completely, though I’m not as forceful about it (since its pointless, as i’m about to get into), but you really need to cool down, especially when somebody comes back and disagrees with you. People are stupid, always have been and always will be. Those of us who know better and rise to the top intellectually should feel content that we ARE at the top, rather than constantly sneering at those below us and trying to “prove” we’re better than them. Isn’t it enough to just laugh to yourself and think “what a moron… he doesn’t even know how stupid he looks/sounds.”? When you go out of your way to write this long dialogue about how stupid someone is, all you’re doing is making yourself look like an ass. NOTE: That’s not what I’m doing. Once again, I agree with your point, I just think it’s pointless to say to someone who obviously isn’t going to accept it, out of ignorance or stupidity.

        P.S. That’s what I do to all those kids with their shitty little pontiac firebirds or honda civics with the 8$ mufflers from wallmart. Driving a nice BMW 330, it’s hard sometimes not to blow them out of the water with my normal-sedan-looking-but-also-powerful car, but I just laugh and think “what an idiot… he doesn’t even know how many people are laughing at him.”

  9. “The main ingredient of McDonalds chicken nuggets is corn. I hear there is a little chicken stuff in there.”


    McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets are 100% white meat chicken.

    Stop believing every rumor you read.

  10. I’ve worked in the plant that makes chicken mcnuggets for the Eastern half of the US. I was actually impressed with the quality of the meat that goes into them, and the quality of the processes that they use. It’s nothing like what some folks say about processed chicken. Aaroncoal is right, it’s only white meat chicken, and not processed anything like the picture in this post. None of the pieces parts. Maybe that’s not the case with others, but I can tell you from direct experience that is not the case with McDonalds.

  11. The explanation of the picture is totally wrong, for many reasons already stated above. Processed food is still food. It’s safe and usually delicious. An old buddy used to say hot dogs are nothing more then ground up hooves and snouts. Even if that were true, they’re still delicious and I will continue to eat them.

    I tend to agree with Andrew Zimmern in that “If it tastes good, eat it.” Although Soylent Green probably tasted really good too. That’s why it’s also important to know what you’re eating is actually made of.

  12. If things were different and chickens (and, going further) other animals had hands with opposable thumbs, we’d probably be the ones being turned into that pink soft-serve. TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN, BABY!!! We didn’t get here by eating leaves.

  13. Soaked with Ammonia is ridiculous, but everything else, I see no reason not to believe. It doesn’t say the pink stuff IS guts, bones, and all that stuff. It says everything get’s pushed through a sieve (just google it if you don’t know what it is – it’s not hard. Yeesh) and what doesn’t get filtered out goes into the nuggets. Reflavoring and Recoloring chemically I totally believe.

    This doesn’t mean at all that I won’t eat it. I love Wendi’s chicken nuggets, which I’m sure are made very similarly. I also eat hotdogs, which, while they’re not ground up hooves, they (as well as bologna) are made of digusting meats that you wouldn’t want to think about: tongues, snouts, meat between toes, lips, scrotums…. basically anything that can be called meat and is edible. Then there’s vienna sauseges… which are basically made of whatever the bologna and hotdog guys WONT take. XD

  14. Yes — it’s true. Poultry is sometimes mechanically separated and when it is, the resulting product is called mechanically separated poultry (MSP). It is NOT true, however, that this is how chicken nuggets are commonly made. The vast majority do not contain MSP. Nuggets are usually made from pieces of white meat and sometimes from a combination of white and dark meat.

    Some processed meat products, like hot dogs and lunch meat, do contain MSP and this is stated on the ingredient label by law. This process is regulated and inspected by USDA, and if used, is included in the ingredient statement.

    Even has an entry about the claims in this piece. Anyone who took the time to read this post should also visit and for the facts.

    Using technologies like this helps prevent the waste food, plain and simple. It is just a more technological and economical way of cutting the remaining chicken meat off of the bone.

    I ask that you update your post, instead of fueling a viral internet rumor without checking the facts.

    Tom Super, American Meat Institute, Washington, D.C.

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