What Mechanically Separated Chicken Looks Like

Mmm yummers, after the jump, here’s a picture of some mechanically separated poultry. We didn’t want to put it on the front page because it is so gross, so if you click through, that is your fault.

Click on the pink goo pic for the full-size version.

funofgoo.jpgIf you’re craving some, go buy a hot dog. It’s likely to be in there. To make it, they take chicken carcasses with bits of meat still on them and run it through a high pressure sieve, extruding a cake batter-like paste filled with a rich slurry of ground bone. But is it in chicken nuggets, as some blogs hyping up this picture have said?

Well, if it’s in a food, it has to be disclosed in the ingredients. According to McDonald’s, their McNuggets are made with white boneless chicken. Nuggets you get in the supermarket might have MSC, as do many chicken dogs, chicken patties, chicken sausages, and just cheap food, but if so, it will say it plainly on the label, as required by the Agriculture Department for years.

[via Early Onset of Night]

Agency Proposes Labels on Poultry Products Containing Bone [NYT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. EmanNeercs says:

    Yeah, looks about as tasty as it sounds. Did we really expect “mechanically separated chicken” to look like the bits you pull off yourself and feed to the cats?
    Looks like marshmallow.

  2. Mewf says:

    Things like this make me happy I’m a vegetarian.

    • StuffThingsObjects says:

      If we were all vegetarians, we wouldn’t have so much beef. Why can’t they lettuce be friends?

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      So strained vegetables, or vegetables that go through a ricer don’t have the same thing done?

      • qwickone says:

        There’s still nothing in those veggies that would skeeve me out or turn my stomach. If we compare the process of making a veggie dog versus a hot dog, neither one might be pretty, but I’m not going to throw up watching them make the veggie dog.

      • Mewf says:

        The look of strained vegetables doesn’t have me wanting to vomit, no.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Things like this make me happy I only eat vegetarians.

    • Billy says:

      Would you rather a piece of roasted chicken? I would assume not. I would guess that you don’t enjoy ANY kind of meat…even the non-extruded types.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Why all of the vitriol against vegetarianism? I am trying to mosey on over to eventually become a vegan just for health reasons. I’m just having to do it slowly b/c I have eaten meat my whole life. It’s not easy. It’s a very healthy way to live though. My cholesterol and weight have started going down since I have started moving towards a plant based diet. I have normal cholesterol for the first time in 15 years.

      • mythago says:

        I don’t understand the net-hating on vegetarians, either. But in this particular case, the original commenter was being tiresome.

      • shadowboxer524 says:

        Do you think you have to cut out meat entirely for you to be healthy? I’m not saying being vegetarian/vegan is unhealthy, but doesn’t seem to be entirely necessary to cut it out entirely. Simply eating less of it and leaner means will lower your cholesterol.

    • pot_roast says:

      This is why I eat more meat. I’m sick of holier-than-thou vegetarians and their smarmy attitudes.

  3. Rocket says:

    It looks like ice cream, really gross ice cream.

    • dangerp says:

      My first thought when I saw the picture – I now want strawberry ice cream.

    • Jason Litka says:

      Ever watch Iron Chef America? In one of the Battle of the Masters episodes Bobby Flay competed against Iron Chef Sakai (from Japan) in Battle Trout. Sakai made raw trout ice cream. That event ended up being a running gag in future episodes whenever someone broke out the ice cream maker.

  4. iParadox{InLove} says:

    ‘scuse me.

    *runs off at top speed to barf*

  5. aja175 says:

    McD’s chicken nuggets barely resemble chicken in taste or texture. This goo would be a step up

    • spazztastic says:

      You obviously haven’t had McDonalds nuggets in years.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      Oh do you recall what their nuggets looked or tasted like BEFORE their push for all white meat? Yucko!!! I would find all sorts of things in there! The modern day McNugget is a definite upgrade from the nuggets of my youth.

  6. Zowzers says:

    looks like chicken ice cream… add some bacon in there! MMmmmm bacon.

  7. Jfielder says:

    Mmm, bubble gum.

  8. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    This will in no way prevent me from eating delicious, delicious, chicken nuggets. And for that, I curse you, McDonalds!

  9. NotYou007 says:

    When is this stupid rumor going to die out? One idiot places a story on his blog with a claim and everyone believes it because it came from the internet.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      So it’s just strawberry soft serve, then? Phew.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I can’t see the Early Onset of Night link, but whatever chain email that anyone has been getting, here’s what Snopes has to say: http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/msm.asp

        • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

          The link is pretty much exactly what you posted from Snopes. Still, that IS mechanically seperated chicken in the picture, and while the source cites incorrect information, Consumerist does a good job of clearing that up.

          • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

            It’s funny that the article from nearly 15 years ago made mention of “what’s right for consumers” and yet we still don’t have a “contains crushed bone and skin” label.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      When idiots like Jamie Oliver stop doing a 4 minute segment but add a disclosure to the aired version, but not to the one online, and that un-disclaimered version gets forwarded:

  10. Dragon Tiger says:

    Even if it’s not in McNuggets, it’s definitely in Slim Jims.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      I loooove slimjims, Spicy meat Bubblegum.
      Good thing I only have them maybe once a month.

  11. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’ll have a 1 footer please. No cheese.

  12. StuffThingsObjects says:

    Woohoo for Tofu!

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I love fake chicken. Morningstar farms and Boca nuggets are amazing. I made Chik’n salad with MS Farms Meal Starters and no one knew it wasn’t chicken (I did not actually say it was chicken either.) I am not a vegetarian, but I honestly prefer these to the real thing b/c the texture of chicken is gross. I also like the ground crumbles. Mmmmm.

      • qwickone says:

        Have you tried Quorn brand fake chicken (or Fricken, as I like to call it)? It’s pretty fricken good.

      • Mewf says:

        Morning Star has the best black bean burgers…in fact, I’m eating one atm. Their riblets also nearly taste like actual ribs. Yum.

      • womynist says:

        I also am a fan of the MS Farms crumbles, but I am not a vegetarian. After all the ground beef recalls over the past year, I decided to stop buying ground beef. I now use the MS Farms Crumbles in chili, tacos and whatever else. It tastes good and it’s better for you! And as far as making tacos goes, nobody I’ve served them to can tell it’s not meat.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          I like the crumbles better than ground beef. They are cheaper here and have fiber, which you can’t get from meat. The world of fake meat is pretty darned good. I can’t wait to try Quorn. I have heard it is awesome.

    • brandy says:

      Hail seitan!

  13. LunaMakesThings says:

    See, I didn’t think this was in chicken nuggets, at least none of the ones I’ve ever had. Unless they would reform the goo back into a stringy, chickeny texture, but that seems like such a waste of effort.

    Either way, I’m not so worked up by it. It’s just mushed up, not rotten or poisonous or anything.

    • VeeKaChu says:

      That’s what I was thinking; even the bastard love-child of Gordon Ramsey and Giada DeLaurentis couldn’t make that goop look like the “chicken” in my McNuggets (and chicken biscuits in the mawn’in;)

      On the other hand, Charm City Cakes could probably manage it…

    • balthisar says:

      Thank you for being a voice of reason! I don’t know why people get upset about the appearance of things that they have been eating for years. I guess it started happening back in the days when we no longer had to shoot our own Bambi’s mom for sustenance.

      I mean, we eat animal muscle (and some people eat their organs). We take a living thing, kill eat, and eat its flesh. It’s the same thing you see on the nature shows, when a lion pounces on a gazelle and starts ripping into it.

      (And I’m not a vegetarian being ironic.)

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      McNuggets have been white meat chicken for quite a few years.

      This is more likely what the spongy chicken morsels in Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice meals are made of.

  14. Preyfar says:

    I dub this pink goop “Wonderflonium”, for it transforms into truly magical properties.

  15. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Why is it pink? From the bone marrow?

    • Larraque eats babies says:

      My guess is blood.

      • Merricat says:

        No, most of the blood has been drained by the time the chicken has been butchered enough to get to the point where it’s bits are ready to be goopified.

        Plus, if it were blood, it’d have gotten a lot darker given how much air is being introduced into the meat and how quickly blood reacts to oxygen.

      • tooki says:

        Blood is reddish-orange when diluted, not pink.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Raw chicken is pink. Ever seen what happens to candy when air is added? It lightens in color and gets poofy – my guess is that is what has happened here.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Pink from all the love added.

  16. Rocket says:
  17. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I’ll have two scoops please.

    Politics (laws) and Sausage: It is better not to see either being made.
    Given the choice, I’d watch the sausages being made. Watching politics in action makes me feel like I need a shower.

  18. AI says:

    It looks better than the chicken pate my cat eats.

  19. redhouse387 says:

    Soylent pink is chickens!

  20. MikeHerbst says:

    Robert C. Baker would be proud.

    “Nugget Man” by Paul & Storm, with Jonathan Coulton

  21. Mulva says:

    Mmm, ammonia chicken. Is it leaner than ammonia burgers?

  22. trey says:

    this looks like Bazooka Joe squeezing out a fresh batch of gum.

  23. fpage77 says:

    Hello Kitty poop?

  24. Hoss says:

    It doesn’t look as offensive as raw meat lined up at the market does. I’m not a vegetarian but ever since I was a kid i found it odd that we display dead animals so openly. (And I happen to like chicken hot dogs)

    • trey says:

      i bet you would just love my trophy room

    • jesirose says:

      We really don’t though. People don’t associate a chicken breast with a living chicken, or a ground beef patty with a living cow, or a pork chop with a living pig. If you want to see dead animals displayed openly, you need to shop at the ethnic markets where the cow’s head is actually next to the beef.

      What you see in the store is VERY removed from the animal. When people actually have to watch the butchering and processing, they’re much less likely to eat meat that meal.

      (Not a vegetarian, btw. I am however pretty opposed to commercially processed foods of any kind.)

      • Cantras says:

        Did a project once, preserving a dead crow’s wings, feet, head, and tail. (the head and tail didn’t turn out, sadly.) This necessitated removing those parts from the body with an exacto knife and a set of wire cutters.

        I was off poultry for a few days after that.

      • Hoss says:

        The disassociation is somewhat because packing is now done somewhere other than the market for economic reasons (despite what Food Inc tells us). There was a time with most markets had large windows in the meat section so people would see very large sections of cow hanging and butcher’s would be blood covered as they worked. If you weren’ happy with what you saw in the meat case or you wanted something special, you would ring a bell and the (blood covered) butcher would greet you. Oh, the memories of childhood

        • shockwaver1 says:

          You have to go to a butchers now to get that experience. I love our local butcher shop, fresh meat that lasts longer and tastes better then the supermarket – plus is usually a bit cheaper!

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      IIRC from a non-fiction book I read by Michael Crichton, in many countries, when they display fish, to show how fresh they are, they make a tiny cut that exposes the heart so you can see it beating.

    • OSAM says:

      How else would you like us to display raw meat? A significant part of meat selection is done by eye: If I can’t see it, I wouldn’t buy it.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      You find it odd? I find that statement odd. It’s been done for over 5000 years.

  25. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I think the worst part about this is that they have to 1) color and 2) flavor it to taste like the original substance.

    Just eat chicken!!

    But remember this is what’s in your Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine meals. Ever wonder why that chicken looked like sponge? Now you know!! ^_^

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      But remember this is what’s in your Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine meals. Ever wonder why that chicken looked like sponge?

      It surely tasted like sponge…yuck.

  26. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Thank you for being honest Ben. Unlike Jamie Oliver, who lied to children, and then had to add a VO disclaimer when it broadcast so he wouldn’t get sued:

  27. momtimestwo says:

    Ugg.. the turkey bacon in my fridge (now in the trash!) has mechanically separated turkey in it. Back to regular pig bacon for us! I also checked out all the junk food in the fridge, luckily nothing else is “mechanically separated”.

  28. captainwalnut says:

    I first saw this photo on a militant vegan blog, and I wondered what their source was. What if this is just candy? I’m sure mechanically separated chicken is a s disgusting as it sounds, but I wonder about the validity and source of this picture (it is the only one I’ve seen in a bunch of similar articles).

  29. BigHeadEd says:

    This is one of the primary ingredients in lower-end bologna. I personally don’t have a problem with it, except I would hardly call it “separated” when both the bone and the bits of meat and tendon left behind are all processed together. More like mechanically pulverized.

  30. shadowhh says:

    I do not believe the picture is any kind of food.

    Would they package a moist meat product in regualr cardboard?

  31. Andyb2260 says:

    Oddly enough I don’t have a problem with this, yes it looks kind of gross, but so does meatloaf when it’s in the mixing bowl.
    It’s just chicken. I like the article on snopes “explaining” why the meat was pink. Ummm it’s raw chicken, raw chicken IS pink.

  32. Cantras says:

    I just noticed this. I am weirded out that this is being squeezed into … cardboard boxes?

  33. nextyearsgirl says:

    I thought this was going to be a story about yummy frozen yogurt! Blech.

  34. krom says:

    I’ve been seeing this all over the place for a couple of days, and people are starting to spread the notion that it includes “ground bone”. In fact, the USDA rules say the bones must come out of the process intact, and there is a maximum percentage of calcium allowed in the product to help fend off too much ground bone in it.

    Apparently the stuff pictured has to go through a lot more processing before it is used as food, including disinfecting, flavoring (!) and coloring (nobody wants pink McNuggets).

  35. SonarTech52 says:

    mmmm Chicken paste….

  36. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Potted Meat-Food Product is notorious for having this as an ingredient.

    Also on the ingredient list: Partially de-fatted beef fatty tissue.

    Yes, you read that correctly. I’ll let that one mull over in your head for a while.

  37. yagisencho says:

    The only part of this practice that grosses me out are the chemical additives. I would totally have tucked into the chicken nuggets that Jamie Oliver made on his television program. It’s just responsible stewardship to extract the maximum possible protein from the livestock we grow. Less waste = goodness.

  38. JohnDeere says:

    that looks like chicken flavored cotton candy. I WANT THIS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. dreamfish says:

    That’s what a demand for cheap food gets you.

  40. dantsea says:

    Yes, but can we add a bacon flavor to it?

  41. arcoiris says:

    My lord. I still do not understand why would anyone eat this. Hmm… I mean it is one revolting frankenstein pile of unorganized pink excrement. I am glad I am a vegetarian….

  42. banmojo says:

    This article, combined with the mental image of the pus I drained out of my patient’s abscess earlier today, has entertwined to make a stomach situation I haven’t felt since I ran a 105F temp for 5 days with the (real) flu. This may just help me jump start my next diet. I’m not sure whether to thank ConCon or damn them. Hmmm, I’ll get back to y’all on that one. Cheers.

  43. ChickenMcTest says:

    I am probably in the small minority of people who has no problem with this.

    Waste not, want not!

  44. dawnitopia says:

    wow…looks like chicken frozen yogurt

  45. Razor512 says:

    Now thats how chicken is suppose to look.

    Looks good and good for you :).

    I wonder if you can make it into flat strips and put it in laffy taffy packets, would people not notice the difference.

  46. jesirose says:

    Why is it going into a plain cardboard box?

  47. kgmoome says:

    mmmm, i could go for a slim jim right now…

  48. legolex says:

    Beyond disgusting. The way animals are treated makes me sick. On that show “How it’s Made” they showed a hatchery, and the chicks are hatched, then put on a belt where they’re separated by gender and then tossed (by people) into the separate bins. They also don’t get to eat until they’ve reached their destination. Welcome to the world. Humans are disgusting.

  49. Froggmann says:

    You know for once, I’m disgusted.

    *Removes another food from the “approved” list.*

  50. scottboone says:

    Nice bait and switch with the pic of poor defenseless baby chicks, about to get ground to a pulp…oh wait, no they’re not.
    Hey guys, don’t resort to PETA tactics.

  51. Fjord says:

    This makes me remember the Will it blend? video where Tom makes chicken milkshake. Eeeeeew! This looks like yogurt.

  52. zifnab0 says:

    Is there a nutritional difference between chicken separated mechanically and chicken separated by hand? Does the chicken lose it’s nutritional value because it’s a paste instead of stringy muscle?

    While I certainly prefer my chicken all natural, I don’t really see the “grossness” (beyond texture) of mechanically separated chicken.

    Also, I enjoy the fact that Consumerist got completely OWNED by snopes in an earlier post.