Japanese Diners Shocked to Find Plastic in Their McNuggets

The chain kicked off 2015 by recalling almost 1 million McNuggets—and profits are hurting because of it.

(Photo: Brandon Wang/Flickr)

Jan 7, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Josh Scherer has written for Epicurious, Thrillist, and Los Angeles magazine. He is constantly covered in corn chip crumbs.

The motto for McDonald’s wildly flailing transparency campaign is Our Food. Your Questions. Well, Ronald, since you have so graciously opened up the floor for discussion, we have only one question: How did shards of plastic find their way into your McNuggets?

Earlier this week, two diners in separate Japanese locations found a crunchy surprise in their otherwise spongy nuggets, prompting McDonald’s to recall almost 1 million mechanically separated squares of fried chicken bits.

Though the tainted nuggets came from the same Cargill factory in Thailand, the two plastic pieces were different colors. One was blue, which is the color of plastic crates that Cargill uses to transport the nuggets, but the other was a color that McDonald’s claims doesn’t exist in any of its affiliated factories. We can add that to the list of “our questions” for “your food,” McD’s—specifically, “Where did that plastic come from?”

This continues a string of fiscal disasters for the fast-food giant, which in 2014 experienced its first annual profit loss in 11 years. It has endured a potato shortage, a large batch of tainted beef, and even an incident involving human teeth found in an order of french fries, but the plastic McNugget debacle could be the straw that breaks consumers’ backs.

Though McDonald’s spokesman Takashi Hasegasa doesn’t have any answers, he does have a message to would-be McDiners. “We deeply apologize for the trouble we have caused our customers, and we are taking quick measures to analyze the cause of the contamination,” he told The Associated Press.

The higher-ups at McDonald’s Japan remain unpanicked and wholly confident in their company’s ability to produce high-quality chicken products. Senior executive Takehiko Aoki was outspoken in his support: “I will eat McNuggets. I will feed McNuggets to my children. I have no doubts.”

Let’s hope Aoki’s 10-pack of McNuggets comes sans plastic.