Revealed! See Exactly How Chicken McNuggets Are Made

Take a look inside the factory that makes the fried bits of chicken for Canadian McD's.
Feb 4, 2014·
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

We all know that McNuggets are made from Silly Putty–pink chicken sludge, right? Well, “know” might be too strong a term, because as McDonald’s Canada is hoping to clarify with a new video, there’s nothing pink involved in producing the breaded hunks of chicken.

“All we’ve got here is just chicken breast that’s been ground up, as well as seasoning, and a natural proportion of skins for flavor and as a binder,” says Jennifer Rabideau, a product development scientist at Cargill Canada. The vat of chicken mass might be off-putting because of its sheer scale. But as the side-by-side comparison of the raw product and the infamous pink slime photo shows, the mixture Cargill Canada produces is far different from what’s widely believed to constitute “chicken” at McDonald’s.

A recent, very small study published in the American Journal of Medicine analyzed chicken nuggets purchased from two unnamed fast-food chains and found them to contain much more than breast and some skin. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Richard D. deShazo, called the meat examined in the study “a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat.”

Would deShazo refer to the seasoned mixture shown in this video in the same disparaging terms? The breaded, fried bits of chicken certainly aren’t healthy, but judging by this (highly produced) explainer, there appears to be less to fear about how the sausage is made, so to speak, when it comes to McNuggets. At least in Canada.