An autopsy of chicken nuggets.

By Seriously Science | October 2, 2013 12:00 pm

Photo: flickr/PetroleumJelliffe

Ever wondered what fast food chicken nuggets are actually made of? So did these researchers, and they actually went so far as to examine formalin-fixed sections of nugget under a microscope. If you enjoy eating these junk food favorites, we suggest you stop reading here. But if you really want to know the results, read on…

The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads “Chicken Little”

“PURPOSE: To determine the contents of chicken nuggets from 2 national food chains.
BACKGROUND: Chicken nuggets have become a major component of the American diet. We sought to determine the current composition of this highly processed food.
METHODS: Randomly selected nuggets from 2 different national fast food chains were fixed in formalin, sectioned and stained for microscopic analysis.
RESULTS: 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.
CONCLUSION:Chicken nuggets are mostly fat, and their name is a misnomer.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me, fun with animals
  • Shadeburst

    “Appeal to vague authority.” The word “researcher” can mean absolutely anything.

    • Maximillian Alexander

      Are you really trying to side with fast food giants here? The researchers and their affiliations are clearly listed:

      Deshazo RD, Bigler S, Skipworth LB.

      Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Miss.; Department of Pediatrics, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Miss.. Electronic address:

  • Rus Archer

    beeg soopraiz

  • Frond36

    Not sure what they mean by misnomer. Can’t you define something by its flavor? Does something have to be the predominate ingredient to be named for it? What of chocolate chip cookies? Is ‘cup of tea’ a misnomer? Do strawberry milkshakes have any strawberries in them? Also, isn’t the fat in them from chickens?

    These questions and more, coming up, after the break.

    • Scott Moore

      No, not for a meat product. According to EU regulations (no doubt US regulations are more lax) you cannot label something as chicken meat if it contains more than 15% fat and 10% connective tissue.

  • Roland Vega

    Deep sigh! Some people just don’t get it. Continue to ignore the facts an feed your children this crap. Im sure they’ll thank you a few years later when their health and well-being are at risk.
    signed, the guy who gives a damn about what I eat. :)

  • david

    Some people will never wake up! That is why America will fall before the people will rise up in the numbers needed to save it.

  • Odin Matanguihan

    and how much fat does fresh, unprocessed chicken-meat have?

    • Scott Moore

      Very little. 13% for chicken overall, and only 9% for chicken breast.

      • Scott Moore

        Around 2% for skinless chicken breast. You can think of chicken nuggets as being made of the skin removed from chicken breasts sold to the health conscious.

      • Odin Matanguihan

        Do you think cooking oil accounts for the big difference or something else? (though this really isn’t much of a concern of mine since I think I should be getting more fat, not less)

        • Scott Moore

          No, I would assume the high fat content is due to the fact that there is a higher proportion of fatty than lean meat in nuggets compared with whole chickens.

  • blobert

    Phew. Big relief. I was expecting more cockroach eggs and human nasal mucous.


    Sincerely, I don’t understand this post. I don’t understand the Title of the series, “Seriously, Science?” as an interrogative. And, I can’t figure out how to interpret the body of the post, as it contains no link to the research. Perhaps you might try again?

  • Pdiff

    Meh! Parts is parts ….

  • Paul Gloor

    What is being said is its mechanically separated chicken. After all the good meat is cut away for chicken breasts etc, the remainder is wire whipped to strip the bone of any remaining tissue. The resulting mush is then processed, sterilized, formed and cooked. A similar process is done for beef, which is where the dreaded filler called ‘pink slime’ comes from.

  • McDonald’s USA

    While we can’t speak for other brands, we can assure you that our McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are made using white breast meat chicken. We do not use dark meat, organ meats, cartilage or bone in our Chicken McNuggets.

    McDonald’s USA

    • James Knauer

      All well and good, but your products still have all the digestibility of furniture polish.

    • Scott Moore

      Presumably “white breast meat chicken” includes fat. So, while McNuggets may not contain bone, they could be predominantly fat with only a minority of muscle (ie. lean meat). That is entirely consistent with the “Mc” brand, which has crossed over into popular speech as a prefix meaning “of low quality” e.g. in the word “McJob”.

      • Scott Moore

        Indeed, I was correct. While chicken breast without the skin has around 2% fat, McNuggets are 20% fat.

  • David Sanchez

    I think you should eat them!!! I wouldn’t feed them to my dogs but I think you should eat them!!! I figure if you do, you’ve got to be stupid in the first place and, thus, probably a tea-bagger. Your death will lead to fewer republican votes. So, eat up folks!!!

  • jaimie bisbee

    my Aunty Morgan got a nearly new red Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Coupe
    by work using a laptop. Read Full Report J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Lisa

    Try watching fat head and really learn about how to eat


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