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A concerned reader sent me a link to an article today that absolutely grossed me out and I thought I had seen it all where processed factory food is concerned.
Advanced Meat Recovery. AKA “Pink Slime”
This picture is of mechanically separated chicken meat, also called Advanced Meat Recovery (yes, you read that right) before it is made into chicken nuggets, bologna, hot dogs, salami – uh, shall I continue? Companies that produce processed food with this nauseating ingredient try very hard not to let photos like this get out to the public for obvious reasons.
According to Fooducate, this chicken paste is the result of cleaning every bit of meat off the chicken bones by passing it through a high-pressure sieve.
It tastes horrible, so artificial flavors like MSG and many other additives must be mixed in to make it palatable. The color is very odd and unappetizing requiring the cover of artificial colors.
It is covered in bacteria, so the paste must be soaked in ammonia to degerm it (see comment below from Stanley Fishman Esq. discrediting denials of this from Snopes).
Anyone up for the fast-food drive-through?
Seeing a photo like this, I am so grateful for my local poultry farm! The chickens are happy, run free, and are fed GMO-free grain to supplement their natural foraging diet.
What Restaurants Use Pink Slime?
It’s not just fast food joints that prefer to use this food-like substance.
It seems that Subway chicken sandwiches may be channeling pink slime too according to a report which conducted tests on the chains “oven-roasted” chicken sandwiches and strips.
Believe it or not, they tested less than 50% actual meat according to CBC Marketplace.
Note that things didn’t used to be this bad! Back in the “good ‘ole days” of fast food, the stuff was actually Real Food that was just cooked fast!
(1) PHOTO: Pre-Chicken Nugget Meat Paste, AKA Mechanically Separated Poultry
(2) Guess What’s in the Picture? (Foodlike Substance)
On the ammonia controversy, in Food Inc. there is a interview with a guy from some meat-processing plant who is bragging about how they use ammonia to sanitize the meat (beef or chicken…I can't remember) because it lowers the risk of food-borne illness. So it apparently does happen. That was all my hubby needed to see to swear off CAFO meat for good. Did anyone else see that movie that can back me up on that? It's been a while so I don't remember the specifics.
Yes, it’s a segment in Food, Inc., and the substance was once beef. I also saw an article within a month or two ago about it, also beef, and a process still ongoing. (NY Times, I believe.) They take this stuff and mix it with everything they can, plus a little “real” beef (from a CAFO, so you know what I mean). Repulsive. And because it is so dirty they need to use the ammonia.
Thank you for posting this information.
I think that intuitively many responsible parents try to avoid such foods for their children and themselves. However, I think that there is a vast segment of the population that blindly consumes these types of foods just because they are sold at restaurants and grocery stores.
The issue is not one of government intervention and/or regulation (although that is helpful at some level), but rather the issue is educating consumers about these food products. Exposing the producers is much more effective than making them pay a fine to the FDA as they continue to produce the same garbage.
Please continue to bring these issues/topics up. Exposure and education are the right antidote!
Paul and Storm's "Nugget Man" on a pipe organ
If you are unfamiliar with Paul and Storm, Mike Lombardo and/or "Nugget Man," you are welcome.
I LOVE Chicken Nuggets! They have made my meals happier for years.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Melinda, I do think you have a point here, though. The title of the blog refers specifically to McDonald's chicken mcnuggets while nuggets from other places are just as bad. I will change the title from "Mc"Nuggets to plain "Nuggets" so that all food producers using this nasty pseudo food carry equal blame.
Melinda, The fact that McDonalds say they no longer use this process is an admission that they did use it.
Since they did use this horrible glop in their McNuggets at one time, where is the slander? They should bear responsibility for what they have done, and people have a right to know that Mcdonald's used to do it. The very fact that they used to do it is something that I, as a consumer, have a right to know. I do not want to patronize a company that would put that kind of stuff in their food. Do you?
And why do you think they stopped doing it? It was because of people like Sarah, who exposed what they were putting in their chcken nuggets, and shamed the FDA into requiring that it be labeled. So Sarah and people like her make your food safer, and you cry slander and shame?
You owe her an apology.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Hi Melinda, I clarified the point you make in the comments above .. however, I seriously doubt that what McDonald's uses now is any better as the "trans fat free" fat they use for frying their fries is not worse than before. This is an evolving story and the fact is that McDonald's used to use this pink paste for its nuggets and is likely still using something just as bad or worse with a different name and processing method! Fooling the public is the name of the game here. Let's put the shame where it belongs please!
We mostly make our own chicken strips from pastured poultry but when we are traveling we sometimes partake. I noticed anything McDonald's will give my autistic daughter almost immediate mucous diarrhea, fries, nuggets, etc. but Chick-fil-A she can always tolerate. Chick-fil-A uses pieces of cut chicken but I often wonder why she can tolerate Chick-fil-A's fries but not McDonald's. Do any of you experts have an idea?
My question is why would you mention McDonalds in your title and in the closing statements of your story? McNuggets belong to McDonalds. There are "nuggets" all over the place… why are you targeting McDonalds? You'll get no argument from me that as far as fat and sodium are concerned, McD's have issues, but to put their name into the story is tantamount to slander… McDonalds say they "no any longer use this process" is your reason for using their name? Shame..
Well that makes sense if they're sending the intestines through, too. I assume the chicken was bled, plucked, and gutted, so that you had muscle and bone and gristle left, and that is what would go through the sieve.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Hi Jill, yes I think most of the chicken goes through the sieve process as doing this with CAFO beef is no longer allowed as parts of the cow's central nervous system end up in meat paste which is a Mad Cow Disease risk. Given how toxic these confined chickens are, I wouldn't want parts of their nervous system, intestines etc in there. This probably accounts for why it is crawling with bacteria as well — bits of perforated intestine would account for this. There are probably other sources as well. No wonder processed meats are such a regular salmonella risk it seems!