• Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    McNugget Misclaims

    In the days since my last post about McDonald’s, I have had a few questions about chicken nuggets. Apparently there is a photo and a link to a blog post from a holistic Dr. Akilah El blog about the Mechanically Separated Chicken that is allegedly added to chicken McNuggets. The claims in the post are so FALSE that I hate to even share the blog, but here you go. False claims. Linking it to the word ‘false’ made me feel a little better about linking to it at all.

    First, this is a blog post. Anybody can start a blog and write stuff about anything and spread around the internet. (I guess the same could be said about me, but…)

    They claim that MSC is added to chicken nuggets. Mechanically separated chicken is NOT an ingredient in the McDonald’s chicken McNugget. They contain white boneless chicken. If MSC was in chicken McNuggets, McDonald’s is required BY LAW to put it in the ingredient statement.

    I looked at the ingredients for the nuggets at Wendy’s and Burger King, and didn’t find MSC in any of them, either.

    Here is a link to a site from the National Chicken Council about what’s really in that chicken nugget.
    So, what is MSC in, really? Mechanically separated chicken in often used in really inexpensive sausage products like non-species specific hotdogs and bologna. Sometimes you see it in other processed meats, but it will ALWAYS be on the ingredient statement.

    How is it made? After workers remove all the chicken off the bones that they can, there is still protein (little meat scraps) left on the bones that human workers could not physically remove. So the bones are subjected to high pressure and water to remove the meat scraps. It is immediately frozen to preserve it, usually using some sort of anhydrous ammonia refrigeration.

    So, ammonia is added to the meat? Nope, it’s just used to chill the air to freeze it. 

    Why is MSC pink, then? Mechanically separated chicken is pink because the processors add nitrite to it. Remember my post about nitrite making meat pink? They add nitrite to help prevent it from oxidizing.

    Is ammonia ever added to meat? You may have seen or heard something about ammonia being added to meat. Chef and food activist, Jaime Oliver, has posted some videos about it. He is misleading the public about a completely different product derived from beef. Our friends at Meat Myth Crushers have addressed this myth in this video with Dr. Gary Acuff from Texas A&M and I have written a blog post about it.

    Is MSC safe to feed my family? Yes, it is safe. It’s a very inexpensive source of protein for processed meats. I am NOT afraid to feed it to my daughter. The products it is found in are usually very inexpensive and… well, they taste that way. We prefer BEEF hot dogs and bologna.

    Back to the McNuggets. I am glad that people have asked me about the McNuggets. They are a good, inexpensive source of protein, and Vallie will actually eat them. Kids love to dip them in sauce. Their meat source is boneless white meat chicken. The next time you hear about the pink slime or goo or whatever they call it, you’ll know the truth and you can share.

    12-9-14 ~ McDonald's has a great video about how their McNuggets are made. Go check it out!

    Please, keep the questions and comments coming.


    1. I found you because of "People I want to Punch." I'm nervous to read too much more but your blog is amazingly informative. Thanks for sharing this information.

      1. Great information. Do you know anything about nitrates in McNuggets. They are the only meat my daughter will eat, but I worry about nitrates. Thoughts?

      2. Thanks! I have a different post about nitrates, please check it out.
        I looked at the ingredients of McNuggets and didn't see any nitrates. Nitrates make meat a pink color and gives a particular flavor not associated with chicken nuggets. Nitrates are more commonly found in meat like ham and bacon and hotdogs.
        Nitrates in nuggets is not something I would worry about.
        Thanks for the great question!