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What's in a chicken nugget?

From the American Journal of Medicine http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9...
"The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads 'Chicken Little'

To determine the contents of chicken nuggets from 2 national food chains.

Chicken nuggets have become a major component of the American diet. We sought to determine the current composition of this highly processed food.

Randomly selected nuggets from 2 different national fast food chains were fixed in formalin, sectioned and stained for microscopic analysis.

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.

Chicken nuggets are mostly fat, and their name is a misnomer."

The American Journal of Medicine is a legitimate but not prestigious journal. I'm surprised they published the article with this title because it's not an "autopsy" (that term is used only when the subject is a human -- when it's a non-human, it's called a necropsy).


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  1. Saw that yesterday, wish they would have identified the restaurants

    1. Did anyone ever believe chicken nuggets are all muscle meat?

      To my knowledge they've always been compressed / formed chicken parts. I don't recall the industry ever claiming differently.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Clams047

        I agree... I never thought it was all meat. But also I had not expected that more than 50% would be "fat, skin, connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves and bone fragments" (mostly the fat, according to the article).

        Here's the article: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wlbt/...

        1. re: drongo

          I have to admit I didn't realize they contained so much in "fragments", I was under the impression they were where the industry dumped all the chicken skin.

      2. Worse than I suspected. I don't eat them.

        1. I was kinda hoping they'd find horse or kangaroo in them thar nuggets.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              That made me laugh. A friend of mine won a super trifecta at the dog track and I got a free fishing trip out of it. Dog.

          1. I had a freind tell me that Mcnuggets were made from chicken buttholes. He arrived at this because he had eatin every part of a chicken but the butthole,and they didn't taste like any part he'd eatin before.
            I'm on board with this.

              1. My 13 year old daughter, who grew up on these things, came home from school yesterday and said that they talked about chicken nuggets in class. I asked her if they discussed mechanically separated chicken. It was at that point she covered her ears and started yelling, "gross, gross, gross".

                I asked her what the difference was between me telling her that for 13 years and 1 class discussion.

                1. "RESULTS
                  The nugget from the first restaurant (Figure 1) was
                  composed of approximately 50% skeletal muscle, with the
                  remainder composed primarily of fat, with some blood
                  vessels and nerve present (Figure 1A, trichome stain, 40)."

                  50% isn't predominant but it's a lot more than I thought it would be.

                  And in the Discussion section: "Available information suggests that the average composition of chicken nuggets from restaurant chain 1 is 56% fat, 25% carbohydrates, and 19% protein"

                  This info is taken from fatsecret.com. How did this article ever get published? This seems more suitable for a high school science fair project than a journal of medicine.

                  1. How is it a misnomer? It's still chicken.

                    Can't wait for next month's expose on pork sausage.