Monday, October 11, 2010

Look It's Play Dough, No, Wait, That's Chicken Nugget Meat Paste

Huff Post had a horrifying shot last week of what was supposedly Chicken Nuggets before they become Chicken nuggets.  Ga 'head, take a gander.

I have to tell you, this made me a little sick to my stomach.  So a day or so later, the Huffington Post had to amend their article because they called it McNugget meat.  Since Mickey D's uses white meat in their chicken McNuggets and this was not the process used, they got a little snippy.  Wonder why...gross.

Huff Post then had to retract the whole premise of the article a day or so after that.  Apparently no one knows where the above photo came from. It is accepted that this is mechanically separated animal of some kind.  But for what use is unknown.  

So the term Mechanically Separated Chicken (or pork, or beef for that matter) isn't that alarming if you don't think about it.  A machine removed the different pieces from the bone.  Why should that bother you?  If you've ever worked with raw chicken on a bone, you'll know.  Or better yet, how bout a tasty Buffalo Wing?  You know all that ligamenty stuff (yes, I just brought this discussion down to a valley girl level with the word ligamenty...even though a valley girl would probably never know what a ligament or cartilage, or any other non meat or bone substance found in an animal, isWait, a second, they would too...cartilage is shaved from the noses of valley girls every day, let's just start labeling chicken nuggets Rhinoplasty Left Overs.) that you have to eat around or slice and dice to get an actual breast or thigh free from it's "natural" (naturally dead and featherless) form?

That crap all gets ground together into a lovely malleable paste.  Then on to the spreader, shape cutter (what, you thought those breast and leg shaped McNuggets were their natural form?  Or how bout Burger King's Crown Shaped Nuggets?), breader and fryer!  Mmm mmm mmm Delish!

Confused as to what I'm really harping on about or haven't ever really thought twice about what you're putting in your body?  My point is the meat producers are trying to squeeze a couple extra pennies of profit out of a bird by allowing us to consume parts of an animal we would normally NEVER consume. 

I get grossed out when I have a big fat vein chunk in my store bought burger.  Terrified when I bite into something hard in a McDonald's burger patty.  Utterly repulsed when I hit a gristle section of chicken strips.

There is a product called Potted Meat.  This is essentially the poorest poor man's Pate.  If you haven't had it, it looks similar to what's pictured below.  I loved the stuff when my wife introduced me to it.  Then I read that it was mechanically separated meat.  I began noticing how many strange patches were throughout the little can.  Like tiny fat or gelatinous sections of the meat spread (yeah, should be your first indicator to steer clear!).  That's when I started taking a much closer look at what I was purchasing. 

So if you read the comments below the article on Huff Post you'll see varied responses to the fact that they had to amend the article twice because they failed to fact check and didn't just pull the whole thing down.  I don't really care that the first pic is incorrect.  Sensationalizing things seems to be the only way America pays attention.  I wish it didn't come down to that. I wish people would just care about what they are consuming and allowing to be put on the shelves as food. 

I am no expert on food quality or artificial additives and whatnot.  Bacterial issues aside, I do think there were fewer food related issues when people just used raw ingredients a couple hundred years ago spanning all the way back to the dawn of man.  Seems like a very long history to just ignore when food manipulation has comparatively a short lifespan. 

As the primary cook and grocery shopper for my family, I have to admit, I don't have 100% track record of ideal food quality purchases.  That said, I believe I've been more conscientious of what my family eats than many.  We made our own baby food for our oldest (second is still on a strictly "Hanging out at the Milk Bar" diet) which helped transition her to real food much quicker than normal.  (Seriously, if you've ever seen baby food peas in a jar versus at home steamed and pureed  peas, you'd never give another dime to Gerber).  She loves all varieties of food.  We do still struggle with her having favorites and refusing to eat anything but those if they are present, but that's something that falls back on us and how mindful we are at each meal.

I sincerely hope that by the time my kids are going to school and eating in cafeterias that the dozens of food blogs specializing in the cause and even sappy ole Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution have serious positive affects.  It's not too late for us to change as adults, just a lot of damage has already been done.  It is our duty to not perpetuate bad food and eating habits in our children. 

Any horrifying food experiences?  Food products that turn your stomach?  What do you eat that you know you shouldn't?


  1. OMG, I am not going to sleep tonight after those horrifying photos....I am so thankful I have not had a chicken mcnugget and unfortunately I have had 'potted' meat but not for 30 years and it sounds like nothing has changed - spam, right? Our diet is pretty good actually. My siren song is a Hostess cupcake - the chocolate with white icing. Oh the gooey filling! I have to turn my head and walk by when I see them at the store calling to me...I wish I didn't like dessert so much but I am always making it. I need something sweet to signal to my brain and stomach dinner's over...

  2. Desert, I think that may be a weakness across the globe...or at minimum, the northern hemisphere. As for Hostess, I have to admit the orange version of your beckoning confection is one of my favorites.

    It always makes me laugh when people get grossed out by other cultures' delicacies yet we produce the items mentioned above. So we add artificial flavor and color to maintain palatability...that makes it all better.

    Thanks for stopping by I Wonder Wye!

    1. 2 comments......nice

    2. more people should know about this

  3. After living in Japan I really became aware of how low-quality American meat products can be. Over here, if you order a chicken cutlet it is an actual piece of chicken thigh or breast with the skin on and the bones removed or in tact. It actually tastes like the chicken you would make at home. In USA, you bite in to a chicken cutlet and it is this strange white color or worse---the odd grayish color with bubbles and chunks of meat rather than a cut off of a chicken.

    1. Wtf are you eating? Stop pinching pennies and go eat at a nice place.