Chicken Nuggets: Is That How They're Made? A GOOD Fact Check
A lot of people have checked out our post on how chicken nuggets are made, which shows a disgusting image of a pink material and an even grosser video and offers this set of facts:
Mechanically separated chicken—the stuff chicken nuggets and patties are made from—is what you get when you grind an entire chicken through a sieve, soak it in ammonia, and add flavor artificially.
With some prompting from Jason Kottke, we've done some investigating, and it turns out that the post was only partly true and certainly blown out of proportion (and no one is really sure what that photo is of).
According to Snopes, which I regard as the preeminent internet-craziness fact debunking site and (problematically, most likely) consider infallible, here is what is true and not true about mechanically separated chicken:
1. "It's what you get when you grind an entire chicken through a sieve"
Close, but not quite. When a machine processes a whole chicken, there is quite a bit of meat left on the bones. To avoid wasting that meat—and money—the bones are run through a sieve-like device, but only to remove meat and other edible tissue (like tendon) from them. So, yes, there is a sieve, but the end result consists only of meat, not ground up bones or eyeballs.
2. "Soak it in ammonia"
Ammonia has sometimes leaked onto food from cooling systems, causing contamination, but it is not something that food processors can legally add to foods. Lord knows what people are actually doing in their chicken processing plants, but this is not an accepted part of the practice.
3. "Add flavor artificially."
This part is totally true. These little processed chicken scraps may not have the delicious chicken flavor you were hoping for, so processors add flavoring.
4. "The stuff chicken nuggets and patties are made from"
This is also totally true. Also add hot dogs to that list. However, a product must list "mechanically separated chicken" as an ingredient. For the record, McDonald's Chicken Nuggets are all white meat, and not made from MSC.
So, the truth is pretty gross. But not quite as gross as the internet rumor. Below can see a great video (which we've linked to before) of Jamie Oliver showing kids exactly how chicken nuggets are made, and then watching in horror as they gobble up the results:
Why Hollywood Ought to Get Trashier The success of the studio behind the Sharknado franchise points to an elusive ingredient in movies today—fun.
Migration by Numbers The Most Diverse Cities in the World From Tokyo's modest 1.7% of foreign-born residents, to Dubai's whopping 87%, in this infographic we take a look at the dynamic landscape of city demographics around the world.
Should Society Fund Mindfulness? Putting taxpayer money toward meditation programs? It’s not as crazy as you might think.
Syrian Refugee Women Learn Self-Defense with Predictably Badass Results Two Arab-American women hope to empower Syrian women fleeing their home country’s conflict with physical training and emotional healing.
Achilles’ Password: Online Security’s Susceptible Straggler These new technologies promise to make your vulnerable passwords obsolete.
Guess Which Wealthy Country Can't Guarantee Access to a Basic Human Need? This week, Detroit's neediest had their water turned off. Here's what you can do about it.
If More Couples Smoked Weed, Would There Be Less Domestic Violence? Spouses who smoke weed are less likely to inflict physical, sexual, or psychological harm on their significant other.
Better Living Through Science: Women in STEM A look at pioneering women in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
How You Type Says a Ton About Your Emotional State This new computer program can see right through your poker face.
Let’s Do More. A Call-to Action by Gap CMO Seth Farbman Data shows that 24% of the 21 million Americans making minimum wage are working in retail, and 64% of those are women.
Meet the Self-Proclaimed President of Colombia’s Hottest Music Trend Champeta started as an outsider Afro-Colombian folk movement. Now it's taking over the country.
Cryptocurrency Regains its Reputation in Paradise Can a renowned tourist hub in Bali become a bitcoin wonderland?