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Oct 1, 2010 07:22 AM

Soft Serve Chicken?

Stumbled across this and wondered if anyone can prove or disprove its legitimacy.

It's something your gut tells you could be true, but it's also absurd enough that it could be bs.


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  1. Sadly, it's more or less true. There is such thing as mechanically separated chicken that is widely used in pressed/formed chicken products, and the blog you linked describes it pretty well.

    Jamie Oliver did a small scale demo of how chicken nuggets are made during his Food Revolution series last year - he ran the chicken carcass through the food processor until it was a paste, pressed the goo through a sieve to remove bone fragments, the added some filler (flour, I think?) and shaped into nuggets. The kids in the kitchen were totally grossed out until he fried the buggers, then they loved them.

    I'm all for extracting as much edible content from a chicken as possible, so the grind and separate process does not bother me. In my view it isn't much different than taking the odd bits of a pig and making sausage. On the other hand, the ammonia, coloring, and flavoring processes gross me out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mpjmph

      What really got me about this was that I saw plenty of "grind", and no "separate." I'll take my hand-cranked oldstyle grinder any day, and grind my own poultry. Uff Da. Watching those kids chow down even after that demo. just freaked me out. And I LOVE fried food.

      1. re: mpjmph

        I agree with you, I have no qualms about this industrial process. If we are gonna kill an animal for food it's best to make use of the whole thing; how else are we going to feed an overcrowded world? Factory-made bologna, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets are fundamentally no different from 'artisinal' old-world sausages except in subjective matters of taste.

        1. re: RealMenJulienne

          ...."subjective matter of taste" and a whoooooooooole lot of chemicals and additives that old-world artisinal sausage makers never dreamed of! Oh, yeah....

      2. I was wondering abou this too just now. After spending way too much time thinking about it, here are the things that confuse me.
        1) It's basically the only photo of "mechanically separated chicken" on the internet. Try it for yourself:
        2) Why is the goo being put into kind of small cardboard boxes and not into a big industrial vat?
        3) According to the McDonald's website, white chicken is what's used for McNuggets.
        ( But per the USDA, things using mechanically separated chicken have to state that they are using it. So it doesn't seem accurate to state that this is what goes into McNuggets.

        Here's a related video, where the meat looks a lot more like what I'd imagine minced up meat would look:

        1 Reply
        1. re: Wisco

          Don't have time to watch the whole bit right now but...if they are putting this pink goo into cardboard boxes, I am guessing it is soft ice cream. That's what it look like to me, strawberry flavor perhaps. I've been to the Tyson chicken factory on a tour, and saw vats of chicken bits, they were not bright pink by any means. Mostly dark meat as I recall. McDonald's uses whole white chicken meat, it's a nugget that's available by Tyson to anyone in foodservice, so the fact that they got that wrong makes me think the whole thing is a bunch of BS.

        2. LOL! It's just a little too pink for me to believe it's what they say it is. As for chicken being totally "pureed" and then put back together, well... Yes. That can be done... It's called PATE...! When you get "chicken nuggets" or whatevers, they may be pieces and chunks pressed together, but there is still clear visual and textural evidence that it is the flesh of chicken. Yes. I know they can "texturize" and do all that "molecular" jazz to it, but honestly, have you EVER had a piece of "Krab" you really thought was crab...??? I don't think so...!

            1. Now I know what I'll be eating when all my teeth fall out.