What was I thinking?

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about McDonald’s in which I made a comment about the “quality” of their food.  I can now see the error in my ways.  I had no right to take such an obvious shot at a company that is doing the best it can to offer reasonably priced food for the masses. Therefore, I offer my heartfelt apolo…

Wait — this just in from the So Good breaking newsdesk…

That, dear readers, is not strawberry soft-serve — that is mechanically separated chicken.  This substance is explained by Fooducate as:

“[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.”

Then, from Michael Kindt, via Gizmodo:

“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.”

This substance went into Chicken McNuggets, until very recently.  Mechanically separated meat can also be found in hot dogs, jerky, bologna and pepperoni.  Frankly, this should surprise no one, and only serves to reinforce that there is a reason that some fast foods/junk foods are cheap – because they are literally made from stuff at the bottom of the barrel.

Does this change your mind about eating chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc?

H/t to HuffPost for the initial lead.

Update (from Eick): While So Good’s reporting on this matter has generally been accurate, a lot of other blogs have been correcting points made by other sites. Kottke wants to note that the meat is NOT “soaked” in Ammonia, although as Snopes describes, both beef and chicken manufacturers sometimes introduce ammonium hydroxide as a “antibacterial agent.”

As JT noted, this substance WAS used in McNuggets until recently, but no longer is.  However, it is still used in many other types of commercially sold chicken nuggets.  According to Wikipedia, in a 2002 lawsuit against McDonald’s, a judge commented that Chicken McNuggets are a “McFrankenstein” creation of various elements not used by the home cook. Reports seem to indicate it was after the release of Super Size Me in 2004 that the change was made from mechanically separated meat to boneless white meat chicken.  The current McDonald’s ingredient list for McNuggets does not include mechanically separated meat.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t gross, and totally unnecessary chemicals in your McNuggets here in America. As CNN reports:

American McNuggets (190 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat for 4 pieces) contain the chemical preservative tBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleum-based product. They also contain dimethylpolysiloxane, “an anti-foaming agent” also used in Silly Putty.  By contrast, British McNuggets (170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat for 4 pieces) lists neither chemical among its ingredients.

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6 Responses

  1. Octowussy

    McDonald’s hasn’t used MSM since 2003, and it is not soaked in ammonia. Did you bother to fact check this at all?

  2. Lady Callahan


    I don’t eat at those places anyway (for many other reasons), and I don’t eat hot dogs or bologna, either, but…pepperoni? It’s my favorite pizza topping! Oh NOOOOOO….

  3. Cynthia

    Just…..ewewwww. I’m glad I don’t eat the McDonalds chicken, and I only buy beef hot dogs, but I’m going to try to forget all about this article next time I have pizza.

  4. Heidi McConnell

    While they may not soak it in ammonia, there is still the issue of ‘pink slime’ in beef, and I haven’t seen any evidence that that is no longer in use. (Watch Food Inc for an explanation, or Google ‘pink slime’). As for Pepperoni, I make my own from grass-fed beef, and I have the recipe on my blog for anyone that is interested.


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