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So What Really Is In A McDonald's Chicken McNugget?

By Chris V. Thangham     Mar 23, 2007 in Health
Chicken is not the only thing you will find in a Chicken McNugget
Most folks assume that a chicken nugget is just a piece of fried chicken, right? Wrong! Did you know, for example, that a McDonald’s ChickenMcNugget is 56% corn?
If the name suggests Chicken McNugget, one would assume at least a major ingredient of it should be Chicken, but Michael Pollan found it something else 56% corn in it. Michael Pollan has written a book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma" about the eating habits of Americans. This book details the ingredients found in a chicken McNugget, 38 of them.
Michael Pollan went to the local McDonald's with his family and ordered a meal. He saw one of the flyers that said "A Full Serving of Nutrition Facts: Choosing the Best Meal for You." He saw 38 ingredients needed to make a McNugget and found 13 ingredients derived from Corn: the corn-fed chicken itself; modified cornstarch (to bind the pulverized chicken meat); mono-, tri-, and diglycerides (emulsifiers, which keep the fats and water from separating); dextrose; lecithin (another emulsifier); chicken broth (to restore some of the flavor that processing leeches out); yellow corn flour and more modified cornstarch (for the batter); cornstarch (a filler); vegetable shortening; partially hydrogenated corn oil; and citric acid as a preservative.
Besides these ingredients, there are few plants in the nugget, wheat in the batter, oil from Soybeans, canola or cotton depending or prices and availability at that time.
In the McDonald's handout, one can also find several synthetic ingredients that is coming not from a corn or soybean field but from a Petroleum refinery or chemical plant. These chemicals are necessary to keep the products fresh longer otherwise they will not be suitable for consumption. Read the article, you will see a number of chemicals used in the product:
* Leavening agents such as sodium aluminum phosphate, calcium lactate to keep the animals and vegetable fats from turning to decay and foul smelling.
* Anti foaming agents like dimehtylpolysioxene added to the oil to keep the starches from binding to air molecules. The problem is this chemical is a carcinogen (Cancer causing agent) and is flammale.
* Tertitiary butylhyroquinone or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from Petroleum that is sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box to help preserve freshness. FDA says about this TBHQ: TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse." Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.
How much Chicken is in Chicken McNugget, less than a nugget. This is scary, I think we should make the nugget ourselves at home. Imagine what this author or others will find in other products sold by McDonald's and others.
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