Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets

Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets
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If the bulk of fast food chicken nuggets is not actually chicken meat, what’s in them?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In a scathing expose of the USDA’s new meat inspection program, the Washington Post quoted a representative from the inspector’s union, who said pig “processing lines [may be} moving too quickly to catch tainted meat.” “Tremendous amounts of fecal matter remain on the carcasses,” he said. “Not small bits, but chunks.”

What about the other white meat? The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine created this infographic to highlight what they consider to be the five worst contaminants in chicken products. In their investigation of retail chicken products in ten U.S. cities, they found fecal contamination in about half the chicken they bought at the store. But with all the focus on what’s in chicken products, we may have lost sight on what may be missing, like actual chicken.

Researchers recently published an “autopsy of chicken nuggets” in the American Journal of Medicine. The purpose was “To determine the contents of chicken nuggets from 2 national food chains.” “Because chicken nuggets are a favorite of children, and the obesity epidemic now extends to them as well, [the researchers] thought knowing a bit more about the content of the contemporary chicken nugget could be important.”

“The nugget from the first restaurant…was composed of approximately 50% skeletal muscle, with the remainder composed primarily of fat, with some blood vessels and nerve present,” along with generous quantities of skin or gut lining and associated supportive tissue. “The nugget from the second restaurant…was composed of approximately 40% skeletal muscle,” with lots of other tissues, including bone.

“I was floored,” said the lead researcher. He “had read what other reports had said is in them and… didn’t believe it.” He “was astonished actually seeing it under the microscope.”

They conclude that actual “(chicken meat) was not the predominate component [of] either nugget.” It was mostly other tissues, concluding, “The term chicken nugget is [really] a misnomer.”

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Images thanks to Physicians Committee For Responsible MedicineThanks to Ellen Reid for her image-finding expertise, and Jeff Thomas for his Keynote help.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In a scathing expose of the USDA’s new meat inspection program, the Washington Post quoted a representative from the inspector’s union, who said pig “processing lines [may be} moving too quickly to catch tainted meat.” “Tremendous amounts of fecal matter remain on the carcasses,” he said. “Not small bits, but chunks.”

What about the other white meat? The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine created this infographic to highlight what they consider to be the five worst contaminants in chicken products. In their investigation of retail chicken products in ten U.S. cities, they found fecal contamination in about half the chicken they bought at the store. But with all the focus on what’s in chicken products, we may have lost sight on what may be missing, like actual chicken.

Researchers recently published an “autopsy of chicken nuggets” in the American Journal of Medicine. The purpose was “To determine the contents of chicken nuggets from 2 national food chains.” “Because chicken nuggets are a favorite of children, and the obesity epidemic now extends to them as well, [the researchers] thought knowing a bit more about the content of the contemporary chicken nugget could be important.”

“The nugget from the first restaurant…was composed of approximately 50% skeletal muscle, with the remainder composed primarily of fat, with some blood vessels and nerve present,” along with generous quantities of skin or gut lining and associated supportive tissue. “The nugget from the second restaurant…was composed of approximately 40% skeletal muscle,” with lots of other tissues, including bone.

“I was floored,” said the lead researcher. He “had read what other reports had said is in them and… didn’t believe it.” He “was astonished actually seeing it under the microscope.”

They conclude that actual “(chicken meat) was not the predominate component [of] either nugget.” It was mostly other tissues, concluding, “The term chicken nugget is [really] a misnomer.”

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Images thanks to Physicians Committee For Responsible MedicineThanks to Ellen Reid for her image-finding expertise, and Jeff Thomas for his Keynote help.

Doctor's Note

To which other reports might the principal investigator be referring? I profiled similar pathology reports in What’s in a Burger? and What Is Really in Hot Dogs?.

More on fecal contamination from chicken in Fecal Bacteria Survey, from fish in Fecal Contamination of Sushi, and from pigs in Yersinia in Pork. How can all that be legal? See Salmonella in Chicken & Turkey: Deadly but Not Illegal.

For more on the preservatives in chicken, see Phosphate Additives in Meat Purge & Cola. For more on antibiotic contamination, see Drug Residues in MeatEstrogenic Cooked Meat Carcinogens also build up in poultry in particular, something the Physicians Committee also tested for previously; see Fast Food Tested for Carcinogens.

If we’re going to eat something chickenish that isn’t chicken meat, why not truly boneless chicken? See Chicken vs. Veggie Chicken.

For further context, check out my associated blog post: What is Actually in Chicken Nuggets?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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