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:
Keeping a Pakistani Artisan Culture from Going Extinct Lahore-based social entrepreneurs support local craftsmen by selling men’s shoes named after an endangered goat
Can You Cut Your Water Consumption by 90 Percent for 24 Hours? A nonprofit challenges people to live off a gallon of water a day, instead of dumping it on their heads
A Love Letter to Philadelphia A personal look into the city from the local poet, muscian, singer, and educator
You Can’t Print a Photo from Outer Space On Polyester Celine Semaan Vernon’s new fashion project is a cosmic experiment in empathy.
Forget the Ouija Board If you want to get into divination this Halloween season, check out these alternatives to the game that rhymes with ‘squeegee’
The Standards are Too Damn High An African leadership prize that frequently has no winners has sparked a debate over whether standards of excellence can turn self-defeating.
Stop Chasing the “It” Pumpkin One man’s brave stance against pricey heirloom gourds fouling up fall.
Skid Row Is Here to Stay The largest, and probably proudest, homeless community in the United States is becoming a powerful interest group in Los Angeles.
How to Raise $750,000 for Charity, the YouTuber Way Rising YouTube sensations like Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta mobilize their massive fan base for a cause Next time your birthday rolls around, consider what these enterprising stars did to celebrate theirs.
Chelsea Handler Tries Making Fun Of Andy’s Weight. It Backfires Immediately. An embarrassingly bad attempt to make fun of Andy’s weight
Another Kind of Street Meat Searching for abundant, organic, all-natural, free meat? Consider roadkill.
“I Know It's Not P.C. But...” Sam Harris, #Gamergate, and the explosion of white, male, illiberal rage