McDonalds Chicken McNuggets Mechanically Separated Chicken Photo - Internet/Facebook Rumour

19 Jan 2012 - Article No: 1478. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour

For information on the recent "McDonalds serving over 18s only" rumour, click here.

Can You Guess What McDonalds Food Item This Is?

Say hello to mechanically separated chicken. Its what all fast-food chicken is made – things like chicken nuggets and patties. Also, the processed frozen chicken in the stores is made from it.

Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve — bones, eyes, guts, and all. it comes out looking like this.

There’s more: because its crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.

But, hey, at least it tastes good, right?

The above photo and the accompanying text - which claim to show the production of MSM (Mechanically Separated Meat) or MSP (Mechanically Separated Poultry) - are circulating Facebook virally, and not for the first time. This picture first started circulating social networking sites and forums back in 2010.

The message goes on to describe the process that goes into how fast food restaurants undergo the process of mechanically separating meat, and claims that this is the process that occurs in order to produce a McDonalds Chicken McNugget.

The attached picture actually does show the MSM/MSP process, which at some point during the production the processed food does take on the form of a soft, pink paste.

However, despite the claims made in the message, whilst you may indeed find MSM and MSP in many types of cheap processed food, the McDonalds Chicken McNugget no longer uses this type of meat production - since 2003, when - according to the McDonalds website - they changed the ingredients to white meat only.

Secondly, the description - given in the accompanying text and also on several blogs that have reported on the image - is a little misleading when describing the process that involves mechanically separated meat.
Firstly, the process of MSM essentially means stripping the bones of all edible meats and condensing such meats into the paste you see in the picture. Whilst this meat is of course not exactly the most nutritionally rewarding meat, it is not literally the "bones, eyes, guts and all" as stated in the message. It is all actually meat [tissue].

Thirdly, the assertion that the paste is "soaked" in ammonia is unfounded and we have seen no evidence or reference to show that this is true. According to who investigated the issue back in 2010 when it first surfaced, a small amount of ammonia hydroxide is introduced into the meat as an antibacterial agent.

Also worth noting is that foodstuff that contains MSM must contain a suitable label noting as much, according to the USDA.

So whilst the photo and caption do provide an insight into what goes into the production of certain processed foods, it is still not particularly accurate and therefore should not be circulated with the inaccurate captions.

References -
Huffington Post Article
Victoria Advocate Article

The Internet, and social networking sites like Facebook, are perfect platforms for spreading untruths, misinformation, rumor and propaganda. Thousands of inaccurate, exaggerated, deceptive or just plain false messages are circulated every single day.

For the anti-scam community to successfully tackle this plethora of false rumours, it is important that anyone who uses the Internet be able to identify false rumours and fully understands the possible consequences of spreading false information.

We have a two part blog post that helps provide this information. Part 1 deals with how to spot and debunk Internet rumours and Part 2 deals with the reasons why you should never circulate false information.

Additionally if you have fallen for this rumour or have Facebook friends that have, you can join our growing Facebook page here.

About the Author

is an IT graduate from Plymouth, UK and the editor of

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