There’s something about chicken nuggets that children love and food purists really hate. Since McDonald’s came out with the McNugget worldwide in 1983 and created the category, critics of the modern food system have repeatedly jumped on the fact that nuggets are not exactly health food.
“When it comes to childhood nutrition, few foods are as unhealthy and insidious as the chicken nugget,” Tara Parker Pope wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2004.
Morgan Spurlock gorged on chicken nuggets and other fare at McDonald’s while gaining 24
pounds for his 2004 documentary, “SuperSize Me.” Spurlock also launched the spurious notion that nuggets were made from “old chickens” that could no longer lay eggs and are ground up into a “mash.”
A blog posting on that theme made the rounds a few years ago, supported by an authentic video showing the production of mechanically separated poultry (MSP), which consists of bits of meat squeezed off the frames (bone structures) of turkeys and chickens. The resulting paste-like product is used in frankfurters and other “pegboard” products but is not typically used in nuggets. But the blog insisted not only that MSP is used in nuggets, but it is treated with ammonia to kill germs – which is also untrue.