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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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.

It's just really finely ground. In the midle east, smooth meat is considered excellent. anyone like gyro's? thinks its a pretty pink. I wish I could buy it just like that. given your responses, i know it would be a lot cheaper than it should. best meat is next to the bone.

Thanks for the info!

Honestly, I'm more concerned that it looks like it's going directly into a cardboard box, with no liner or anything. That said, it does look gross. Then again, does cooked spinach, and tofu isn't exactly the most appetizing food on the planet, either (I'm just sayin'). To each his (or her) own, I guess.

mmmm...I'm craving a hot dog right now.

Ya know, I have to come down on the side of "wasting less of the creatures we eat" side, and say that, while this is NOT something I would care to eat in this form, I'm glad that chickens and pigs are completely used, and the "less popular" cuts are not just discarded. Meat is protein, folks, and if you choose to eat meat (I do), then let's not waste the protein. There are Billions of humans in this world that would be very grateful to get this pink glop. So, thumbs up, just don't show me any more pictures! LOL! Love ya, Snack Girl!

I think I am going to go have a bologna sandwich and then a hotdog with a side of chicken nuggets ;) Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



To be honest if it was a choice between eating this and anything from the vegitarian section I would go for this every time as at least the finished product looks good and tastes very nice, unlike the carboard burgers and chewey quorn failed attempts at making veg look and taste like meat products.

I like hot dogs and chicken nuggets so I dont care how they're made. I dislike veggie food and can't even stomach it so why have a go at this process when the animals are dead anyway.

All I can say is that you want to research what happens to your own bones in order to turn them into dust after you're dead...then make a comment about this process as you're all going to be going through it yourselves one day unless you opt for a burial.

To be honest if it was a choice between eating this and anything from the vegitarian section I would go for this every time as at least the finished product looks good and tastes very nice, unlike the cardboard burgers and chewey quorn failed attempts at making veg look and taste like meat products.

I like hot dogs and chicken nuggets so I dont care how they're made. I dislike veggie food and can't even stomach it so why have a go at this process when the animals are already dead anyway.

All I can say is that you want to research what happens to your own bones in order to turn them into dust after you're dead...then make a comment about this process as you're all going to be going through it yourselves one day unless you opt for a burial.

But are there any hot dogs out there that are ok??

Wow, that's an eye opener. HA looks like a boa constrictor or something.

This is disgusting! I recently started eating Paleo and now I am so thankful!

Hebrew National uses no filler,,,thats good right?

@Micheal Yes, many hot dog companies don't use fillers - it will be right on the package "mechanically separated chicken" if it is in the product.

This is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen! I don't eat beef jerkey or things like that and never will. Now comtemplating becoming a vegetarian. I only eat organic meats, but now thinking about vegetables, etc.

Mmmm. Makes me hungry for soft-serve chicken ripple.

it looks like a flamingo turd!

Maybe that's why everything tastes like chicken. Soilent green crackers aren't far off.

mmmmmmm, I always wondered why hotdog made me burp the feeling i had chicken, yummy i thinkk im going to grill me some now. Also people get over it i rather eat that then crickets or worms or spider like some country. And yes it might be healthy or full of protein and they grew up with it but YUK, that pink bubble gum looking then will be on my plate before any bug will ever be.

Definitely quite gross! Just another reason to do your cooking from scratch...

Btw, I posted this on my site's facebook page,

Further reason to support local food growers, and sources. Support local and free range, humanely raised chickens and eggs, and beef and I believe you will not have to worry about putting something like this in your body.

wow ,,,,and I love chicken hot dogs. I'm going to reconsider that consumption soon.

Nasty! Nasty!

No more hot dogs for me even though I hardly ever eat them.

WOW! The option for Strawberry ice cream just makes me ill because it's really some sort of chicken. Ewwww!!

*Stares at picture*

It's strawberry ice cream in a cardboard box

*Reads actual product*

Holy cheese!!!!! Mechanically seperated CHICKEN?!?!?!?!?! Like the thing that goes "bawk bawk" and pecks at corn chips? This is disgusting and I'm putting this on facebook!!

Anyone else remember Soylent Green? This is why we raise our own chickens and turkeys and collect their eggs.

Funny you should mention it. It was a movie a friend recommended to me about 6 years ago and I had not seen it yet. Just looked at the trailer... interesting.. definitely a retro movie now. : )

The thing I find most disturbing about this is that people are disgusted by the the fact that 100% of the meat is used from the bones.

Would it be better if we wasted it? For centuries man has made use of as much of slaughtered animals as possible- often with some pretty weird things coming from it. (Head cheese, anyone?)

To get a delicious stock, you boil the bones to render every bit of flavor from them. If you are not a vegetarian, do you find this disgusting also?

Only in this day and age would we find using all the animal something bad.

honestly people are grossed out now but wait a couple hours and they'll be eating it once again... people don't change fellas... just accept what you are eating because the reality, us humans are way too lazy to do sh*t ourselves if there's an easier way that it costs less and pays a lot more... so give it a rest and don't kid yourselves... grow up and stop trying to sound better than everyone else saying you are a 'vegetarian' or 'i don't eat that! im healthy'... grow a pair and just man up bitches... its food, and it goes in and out the same way...

Kevin - you clearly have strong feelings on this. Sadly, your message was eviscerated and lost thanks to your language and apparent anger. I suggest you count to 10 before you post.

To Applegate: Do you think it is healthy to feed children foods that are soaking in plastic? Is your 100% veggie diet non-GMO? I am an RN and was taught in Microbiology that meats (of any kind) that are chopped or processed have a greater surface area for bacterial growth, specifically EColi. And how long do you think this meat has been sitting around from pig to what is pictured above to the store? If we had the actual chicken and ate from the bones that would be much more in tune with nature. This is anything but natural and certainly not healthy.

Its meat folks. Chicken nuggets are good kids love them. I prefer to make my own with bits of whole organic amish chicken breast tenders, but make no mistake that on occasion my fam and I do eat fast food which im sure contains some of the above. I prefer not to see this either but its truth if u grind up as chicken breast to paste it will resemble this undoubtedly. So..... Eat up America!!! Yum yum

I don't really understand what the big deal is - When we cook chicken soup people say it is better to throw the bones in because there is extra nutrition in there... And, for food that includes the "throw-away parts" such as organ meats, isn't that actually more nutritious than regular cuts of meat (look up nutrition value of liver and heart)? There are worse things to eat, like peanut butter, which has X amount of rat poop in it because the companies are unable to completely remove rats from their factories. If we are going to kill animals, we might as well use every part that we can and get the most out of them.


This is so didgusting..Vegetarian might just be the way to go- America the Beautiful? right.

I honestly thought it was bubble gum. I love Hoffman's hot dogs and they are all beef.

What difference does that make, I really don't know. It just looks gross.

First of all this is chicken not beef. And, the meat industry is making strides. Natural bacon without the additives is available as well as hot dogs that are all muscle and no additives. Still, a few of vegetarian meals a week are certainly in order at our house. I actually made a tofu dish last Friday that hubby really liked! Just stir fry with veggies, eggs and tofu.

mannnnnn ill still eats sum motha fu**in chicken nuggets

So they take meat and turn it into a paste. You do the same with sausage and hamburger except the machine uses a very fine version that catches the bones.... this "process" is the equivalent of an extra tiny grind.. the machine uses pipes and extruded it... they don't use inferior meat it's the same chicken at the grocery. It's cheap because they use the whole bird and pump this stuff out at 60 feet per minute and blow anyone making this by hand out of the water on price. I cook at home and I see this stuff made in the plants. This is shock factor bull because i grind my own meat at home. Grinding chicken like am burger creates a texture of tiny pebbles.the smaller grind s more palletable i promise. All the preservatives and ammonia I do not agree with but the whole pink slime thing is total crap. BTW I am serious they package birds and make ground aka mechanically seperated chicken at the same plant using the same chickens.

Must be nice to be privileged enough to be grossed out by a food many would kill to have on hand. When your poor and hungry, you'll eat what you can and ANY meat is a privilege that I can rarely afford.

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