What’s In a McDonald’s Chicken Nugget?

We’ve all seen the undercover videos on YouTube in which pink goop is manufactured into chicken nuggets. But in an attempt to show consumers the truth about their chicken products, McDonalds have released a series of videos showing exactly how their nuggets are made.


Camera crews were dispatched to the McDonald’s production factory in Cargill Canada, where a de-boning expert – Amanda Straw took viewers through the whole process. In the videos, whole chickens are filmed bring de-boned with certain body parts, such as the wings, fat, skin and gristle removed. The remaining breast meat is then chopped up and blended before being shaped into the nuggets.


The videos were apparently made in response to a customer question sent in by ‘Armand R’ in Edmonton, AB, Canada, who asked ‘What are legitimately in McNuggets, is there pink goop?’ McDonald’s Canada’s supply chain manager and a product development scientist tackled the question by filming the step-by-step process so that people could see exactly what goes into the product.


McDonalds have always stated on their website how the products are made: “Chicken McNuggets are made with white meat, lightly coated in a tempura batter to ensure that they are crispy on the outside, and juicy and tender in the inside. They are cooked in a Canola oil blend, which provides 0 grams of trans fat per serving.” But this does not seemed to have been enough for discerning customers, who want more information.


Breast meat is separated from the chickens.

However, despite the website blurb and the orchestrated PR videos, studies have shown that it is not just breast meat that goes into the nuggets. Scientists from the University of Mississippi Medical Center found that not all chicken nuggets only contain breast meat.


Breast meat is ground and minced up.

They said: “Striated muscle (chicken meat) was not the predominate component in either nugget, fat was present in equal or greater quantities along with epithelium, bone, nerve, and connective tissue.” Epithelium is a type of animal tissue, which usually lines cavities and structures throughout the body. The study concluded that “chicken nuggets are mostly fat, and their name is a misnomer.”


Ground meat is mixed with ground skin and seasoned.

A spokesman for McDonalds spoke to the MailOnline to clear up any lingering doubts: “In the UK, our chicken McNuggets are made in broadly the same way using chicken breast meat, which is coated in a tempura batter. We do not use chicken skin in any of our chicken products, which are made using 100% chicken breast meat.”


Meat is formed into nugget shapes.

And the McDonald’s UK website reiterated: “The only meat we use across our entire chicken menu, including in our Chicken McNuggets, is chicken breast meat. The chicken breast meat has been carefully deboned, and is not Mechanically Separated Poultry (MSP or pink slime). We do not add any artificial colours or flavours. Chicken breast meat makes up 45 per cent of a total Chicken McNugget. The other 55 per cent is made up of seasoning and batter for coating.”

Images copyright YouTube.

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