Skip to Main Content

Photo: You May Have Eaten This

Written by Michelle Kretzer | January 20, 2012

Photo of the Day


What you’re looking at is not a newly discovered pink Burmese python or the material used to make lawn flamingos. It’s actually something edible (and I use the term “edible” loosely).

This is actually mechanically separated meat, the main ingredient in many commercial chicken nuggets (and the companies use the term “chicken” loosely). The picture has been circulating around the Internet for a while, but it’s still creating buzz because it shows something we rarely see.

It’s made by sending animals’ bones through a machine that scrapes off the last bits of flesh and blood and smashes them together to form a paste more nausea-inducing than the kind you ate in kindergarten. The paste has to be soaked in ammonia to kill the bacteria, the “chicken” flavor has to be added to it, and the whole mess has to be dyed so that it no longer resembles, well, a big bloody log of unidentifiable animal bits.

Commenting is closed.
  • As a former employee of Tyson Foods who actually made Pink Slime, I would like to correct how the Pink Slime is actually made, at least as far as chicken is concerned. Although PETA is close, its not quite correct. I worked in the chicken division of tyson foods (so I can’t tell you how its done in beef/pork processing facilities), and what happens after they take all the meat off the carcass it leaves mostly cartilage with a little tiny bits of meat on it, but is mostly just the bone rib-cage. After several hours of chilling the rib-cage it is moved to the department that I worked in, and the rib-cages are dumped into a large grinder and ground into small pieces, then it goes through yet another smaller grinder which grinds it into what becomes the pink slime, so its not scraped at all, its just ground up into this fine pink slime. So you are really eating chicken bones (and sometimes organs if the machine that sucks them out misses them, along with other foreign objects like plastic, pieces of metal, knives etc if it isnt seen in time, which is common ).

  • stewy says:

    If our nation keeps eating it they will keep making it. I don’t understand why nutrition is taught by more parents to there kids? I know the crap food is cheap because its crap. Enjoy shopping for and cooking healthy food with your kids and remember if you won’t feed it to your pets than why and the help would you feed it to them??

  • Smakes says:

    You guys can say that the food industry is not giving us real food and refer to food inc. all you want. When you are ready to eat only what your raise you can do something about it. The fact of the matter is that the US has the safest food supply in the world. No it’s not always pretty, but it is always safe. In most cases you risk more by preparing your own food then buying it off of the grocery store shelf.

  • Health Blog says:

    It really look awful. It is surprising that we eat such things:)

  • jackie says:

    Sure, it looks nasty but that doesn’t stop me from grabbing a nugget on my way to the back of the store when I’m at work…oh well, it’s pretty much the tastiest thing at McDonald’s.

  • Trolly McTrollington says:

    Looks delicious! Seriously, I tried so hard to avoid the comments section and it was exactly as I expected. So now, a joke: Q: How do you know within five minutes if someone is a vegetarian or vegan? A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. Now, that doesn’t repulse me as much as other people who have commented on this, but get a grip, people eat nastier stuff than this on the regular. It’s been only the past few years that people have gotten really self-righteous over what they eat. Sure, we all know fast food isn’t great for you, but that’s not going to suddenly make me not eat meat. Jeebus.

  • TonyEnkiduCx says:

    This stuff is actually voluntarily banned in most places in the UK, but it’s purely a problem with how it sounds and looks. Washing meat in ammonia is not specific to this pink stuff, it’s done in a LOT of meat preperation and is perfectly fine. Just because it’s been “mechanically seperated” does not make it bad either, a massively high percentage of the food you eat is processed by machines(Including most of your vegetables). And it is not true that chicken flavor has to be added, although the flavor of it is lessened because of the processing, so it is generally used in foods that are flavoured anyway.

  • Nikki says:

    Glad I live in NZ where the food I eat I raise.

  • Dylan says:

    Honestly knowing the exact source and method of production doesn’t do a thing for me, that stuff looks like it’d taste pretty good if prepared right, I’m sure theres worst things in both taste and origin. Not to mention theres millions of people who would kill to be able to eat this stuff. (your all pansies)

  • ZOE says:

    yes Amy, go to any supermaket meat market and in the butchers area there are vats of bleach or ammonia that the meat gets washed in to kill worms, parasites, and bacteria. A close friend of mine worked for Publix in the meat department for six years and was in charge of ‘cleaning’ the meat. The pork they got in was green from all the bacteria and the only way to get it pink or red again was to bleach off all the parasites and bacteria. Think before you speak.

  • sara says:

    people…first of all calm down. we all know that anything from mcdonalds is not good for you (yes, even the salads). hence, why the normal, healthy, average person tends not to eat there. is it okay to go once and a while, sure, but you must be aware that what you are eating is not how it appears, and to be okay with that. is it nasty looking, sure, but the fact that anyone ever actually believed it was made fresh from real pieces of chicken blows my mind.

  • Lucy says:

    I thought it was the ice cream you get at McDonalds.

  • ketapills says:

    clearly, AMY, your head is in the sand about what goes n behind the scenes in the food industry. watch food inc.

  • Dree says:

    I thought it was a snake…

  • Amy says:

    Seriously….???? First off this truly isn’t right in “any” way…. Ammonia???? For real???? What’s that all about??? And don’t tell me that’s how all “processed” is, I beg to differ!!!!! Get a clue!!!! This is disgusting and ridiculous!!!!

  • keverdeen says:

    just became vegan a few weeks ago BECAUSE of THIS. the solution is simple-knwo what you’re eating! if it frightens you, stop eating it. demand will go down and hopefully this will happen wayyy less

  • kurisu7885 says:

    I always read the ingredients on what I purchase. I won’t be shamed into just not eating meat.

  • Sam says:

    I thought it was strawberry Ice cream at first. lol

  • Alex says:

    If you want people to blame then its who is ever eating. Not the government telling us what we can or can’t eat, its the choice we have. I don’t want people telling me I can’t eat this or that. If you want to be healthy then research it! They only make it because “we” eat it.

  • smellyprawn says:

    I think it’s sad how so much money and energy goes into making garbage like this and at the same time 200 million lbs of food gets thrown away everyday (just in the US) and that there are 1 billion people on earth who don’t have enough food to survive.

  • Maria says:

    ammonia!!! They soak food in ammonia thats what really bothers me

  • Steve v says:

    You. Watch food inc. it’ll open ur eyes to see how the food suppliers in this country control more than u think. And it’s all companies. Not just McDonald’s or bk or Wendy’s. Supermarkets Tyson jewel osco. What did u guys think “processed” ment? And u dont even taste real chicken. U Taste a scientists artificial(fake) chicken “flavor”

  • marina says:

    I don’t know what the hell is wrong with people if they could get away with something like that.

  • Jer says:

    I’m amused at all the self righteousness here. It’s pink because there’s blood mixed in. Is that really so hard to understand? At least half the chicken isn’t going to waste. Finding out what your food comes from isn’t always pretty.

  • Kathy says:

    OMG, I’m gonna be sick.

  • Commenter101 says:

    Thats Seriously Horrid like do they have guilt that they are feeding this thing to millions of americans a day like It looks likean ilbino snake^^^ **PUKE NOISES** Unbelivable…..:/

  • Alondra says:

    I’m actually acting for a change to this world.

  • lisa says:

    Sorry if i come across thick but how the hell do they get it to look like that??? dont know about anyone else but as soon as i saw this photo i thought instantley a skinned snake or something like that the top of it looks like its head i thought it was being force fed, you really eat that stuff in america?? thank god im vegetarian.

  • roger says:

    Wait: let’s not stop at shunning the pink glop!  Chickens that still look like chickens to some extent (their feathers worn off, sores on their bodies from being crushed up against the cage bars) aren’t any more appetizing, or clean, or wholesome.  Half of all chickens in SUPERMARKETS, let alone what they sell in fast food restaurants, have E.coli bacteria from feces, their own poop.  My kids aren’t allowed near any of it, pink or any color. It all makes you puke (sometimes literally).

  • sholloway96 says:

    So that’s what the mystery meat is in the public school cafeteria! Good to know. This is why I pack my kid’s vegetarian lunches.

  • Syd says:

    I think I just threw up. I don’t eat McDs except for the occasional French fry. Does any other company do their chicken this way. Thank God I know how to cook. How embarrassing to live in the USA with all the lax food standards. It’s totally NOT the same as when I was growing up. What a shame.

  • Sophie says:

    OMG that’s so disgusting! :O

  • Irene Leggett says:

    Are WE really allowing this disgusting mass to be classed as ‘food’? No wonder the population is suffering from all forms of cancer, more heart disease, more illnesses in general if this is what’s happening. Obviously, we are what we eat – c**p

  • marina says:

    eww…tats soo qross

  • Susan says:

    I have never liked McDonald’s chicken nuggets, now I understand why!! My daughters saw this and McDonald’s will not be on their fast food list of places to go. This is absolutely gross!!

  • USAnugztoday says:

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Its because there more worried about the completely harmless marijuana we are smoking

  • Okay says:

    Why they are permitted to make this food is because of the government. Canada and the USA have different food protocol! Canada does permit fake food! The food has to be a certain standard! This is why canada didn’t have taco bell for years. Why we don’t have white Castel and other fake meat suppliers! If they don’t conform to our standards they are not permitted to come in! Maybe you should speak to your government.

  • carrie says:

    ok dumb question because the article was not clear enough. what is this exactly where is it sold?

  • Helen says:

    It’s so sad the goverment permits all this that can cause sickness like cancer and who knows what else.

  • Valerie says:

    Never eating McDonald’s meat again….

  • stacy says:

    If making healthy decisions 4 urself isn’t enough reason not to eat this crap maybe the truth about what ur eating & how its prepared will be .

  • d. greenwell says:

    I knew there was a reson I never liked mickey d’s.But now grandkids will have a reson to not like also. How gross

  • Kim says:

    EW! OMG it looks like taffy or ice cream. That’s so gross! Do they store it in card board boxes? I’m so confused as to why we are letting this happen in the world! 🙁

  • Christine says: