Guess What's in The Picture

September 1, 2010   59 Comments

My pal, Hemi at Fooducate provides a lot of great advice on buying healthy food at the supermarket. Also, he created an iPhone App on choosing a healthy cereal Cereal Scan, which I hear is awesome. (I don't have an iPhone :(

Mechanically Separated Chicken

Hemi shared this post with me:

Guess What's In The Picture

A) Strawberry ice cream

B) Chicken

C) Plastic foam

D) None of the above

Answer below

What you need to know:

Folks, this is mechanically separated chicken, an invention of the late 20th century. Someone figured out in the 1960’s that meat processors can eek out a few more percent of profit from chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows by scraping the bones 100% clean of meat.

This is done by machines, not humans, by passing bones leftover after the initial cutting through a high pressure sieve. The paste you see in the picture above is the result.

This paste goes on to become the main ingredient in many a hot dog, bologna, chicken nuggets, pepperoni, salami, jerky etc…

The industry calls this method AMR – Advanced Meat Recovery.

In 2004, as a result of mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) ruled that beef could no longer be processed this way, because testing showed that parts of the bovine central nervous system ended up in the meat.

As for products using mechanically separated chicken and pork, FSIS ruled that they are safe to eat, but required them to be labeled as such.

Despite them being safe, FSIS states that no more than 20% of the meat in a hot dog come from mechanically separated pork.

What to do at the supermarket:

It’s always a better to choice to see a real cut of meat at the butcher counter in the supermarket and then decide what you want done with it. Buying something prepared in a factory, such as chicken nuggets, or hot dogs, you’ll always get the worst meat, and it will always be combined with additives and other sources of fat.

Check out Fooducate for other healthy eating tips.

Did you know what this was? Does it scare you?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 59 )

Oh. My. Gosh. I'm practically speechless and 100% grateful that I do not eat meat. Yikes!

Gross. Gross.......!

Am I living in la-la land feeding my kids organic applegate farms hot dogs? Or do they, by chance, have higher standards?

Jen - those hot dogs are worth every penny. The FDA requires that mechanically separated meat be specified on the label in the ingredients list- check out a package of beef jerky and you will see it there.

eeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww! should have a warning on this post not for the "soon to become vegetarian" reconsidering all meat consumption at this moment.


I just shared it with my facebook friends.

Yikes again!

this scares me, I picked strawberry ice cream since I saw the health coats and gloves....YICKY

Oh blech. I'm going to my magic, happy place now. I have never actually seen that label on a meat product and now I want to seek one out to see what it looks like.

Ugh! I thought this was some kind of partially hydrogenated marshmallow goop for candy or something. This is absolutely disgusting! Another thankful vegetarian.

Ewwwwwww! Images like this are what turned me vegetarian. I've never been more glad that I don't eat meat!

Makes me very, very glad I do all that cooking I sometimes complain about. At least I know what's going into my food!

I saw this on Fooducate last week. I gagged when I saw it. Blech!

That is horrific! Everyday I'm a little more relieved that I am a vegetarian

It's food. Isn't pretty but it's food. My son who is teaching in Ethiopia could use alot of that "icky stuff" to feed the students.

They aren't real picky about what they eat.

As long as it's safe (no beef!) and nutritious, looks don't count that much over there.

I don't really see the grossness of it.. I'm more surprised that *people* are so shocked to see how the food they eat is really made. It's reality. It's not going to be pretty, and it's raw meat so obviously it's going to be pink. Watching hot dogs being made is pretty much the same, it's a mixture that looks like a paste. It doesn't come out of thin air in a hot dog shape! Is it really that surprising? It's just how it is. Anyway, hot dogs are delicious so I can accept how they're made, lol.

Has no one simply tossed chicken into a food processor or seen how a hand made chicken sausage would look? It looks exactly like this. Mechanically separated or not it boils down to this is essentially the left over bits on the bone that was turned into finely ground chicken. There's nothing gross about it. It just means we get more yield out of all the animals we slaughter, it's a beautiful thing in my mind.

That's disgusting. I knew there was a good reason I could never acquire a taste for bologna, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and any thing else that's made by grinding the throw away parts together and then pressing it back together in a mold. SICK!

Here is a good video on meat:

Hi Jen – We’re happy to hear you feed your kids our hot dogs. We can assure you that we are trying to lead change within the meat industry. Our animals are never given antibiotics, they eat a 100% veggie diet, our animals are never given hormones or artificial growth promotants, they are made with only natural and organic ingredients, they are minimally processed, they never contain artificial nitrates and nitrites, and all of our products are made from 100% whole muscle meat. Please know next month you’ll be able to plug in your Barn Code UPC into our “Promise Tracker” on our website to see a map where your meat came from and see videos from our farms, production plants and quality/assurance processes. We aim to provide total transparency and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to be in touch! Thanks, Renee and the Applegate Crew

People...this picture has nothing to do with being a vegetarian...meat that looks like real meat has nutritional value. Just because people eat meat doesn't mean that they eat this crap...and just because you don't want to eat this crap doesn't mean you have to be a vegetarian.

That said, I do enjoy me a good bologna.

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