This photo below has been passed around the web these days, and for good reason: it’s a peak into the rarely-seen world of mechanically separated meat, or Advanced Meat Recovery.
This is mechanically separated chicken. Chickens are turned into this goop so we can create delicious chicken nuggets and juicy chicken patties. It’s obscenely gross and borderline alien but it’s not going to stop me from eating nuggets. They’re too good.
Folks, this is mechanically separated chicken, an invention of the late 20th century. Someone figured out in the 1960’s that meat processors can eek out a few more percent of profit from chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows by scraping the bones 100% clean of meat. This is done by machines, not humans, by passing bones leftover after the initial cutting through a high pressure sieve. The paste you see in the picture above is the result.
This paste goes on to become the main ingredient in many a hot dog, bologna, chicken nuggets, pepperoni, salami, jerky etc…
The industry calls this method AMR – Advanced Meat Recovery.
Once the "chicken" has been processed, it has to be soaked in ammonia, then flavoring has to be added, and it has to be dyed, because people would freak out if their McNuggets were cremed-strawberry colored.
I wanted to see what McDonald’s website had to say about all this. Sure enough, there is actually a page called "Response to Chicken McNugget Rumors." the January 13, 2010
Response to Chicken McNugget Rumors
We welcome the conversation about our food. What’s really important is that people have the truth & facts.
The truth is, our Chicken McNuggets are made with 100% USDA Grade A Chicken. A fractional amount of a legal preservative and a miniscule drop of an additive in vegetable oil is added to simply prevent foaming on the surface that naturally occurs in cooking. It’s that simple. Customers can be reassured that these are common and fully-approved ingredients that are completely safe and have been used for decades.
Just as important, these safe and approved ingredients are found in bread, frozen vegetables, canned fruit, soups, cereal, cocoa, candy, crackers, instant noodles and vegetable, sunflower and canola oils … hardly a scary list for consumers.
The use of these ingredients has been approved for many years by government food safety authorities and regulatory agencies around the world, such as the U.S. FDA, European Union Parliament, and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.”
Nothing about cremed-strawberry colored.
They don’t address how exactly they make their nuggets, but instead focus on rumors about the ingredients in them:
“We welcome the conversation about our food. What’s really important is that people have the truth & facts. The truth is, our Chicken McNuggets are made with 100% USDA Grade A Chicken.”
Well said. The chicken itself is Grade A. And honestly, I don’t think the quality of the food is necessarily at question here. I think the reason so many people are fascinated by “mechanically separated chicken” is because we just simply want to know, how is our food made?
And then you feed it to small children.
Of course this is a fake!