McDonald’s attempts to explain what’s in its chicken McNuggets, again

McDonald’s is on a mission to get pink slime out of your head. The fast-food chain has released a new video attempting — once again — to explain the contents of its famous chicken McNuggets. 

In the video, former “Mythbusters” cast member Grant Imahara visits a Tyson factory. It’s one of five facilities making chicken McNuggets in the U.S. He starts his factory tour by showing his tour guide, Principal Meat Scientist (yes that is her real title) Amy Steward, a photo of pink slime.

For those who may need a refresher, pink slime is an industrial filler made of a mixture of parts of a cow and chemicals including ammonia.  

“I don’t know where that picture came from, but that’s not used in chicken McNuggets,” Steward says in the video.  


In the factory, multiple lines of people are shown cutting full chickens into pieces. Steward explains that only breast meat, rib meat, tenderloin and chicken skin end up in a McNugget. 

Once the chicken meat is ground, it heads to a mixing machine where it mixes with what Steward calls skin and “marination.” In McDonald’s speak, marination means water, sodium phosphate, modified food starch, salt, wheat starch, dextrose, citric acid, autolyzed yeast extract, rosemary extract and safflower oil. 

The ground chicken is then formed into those familiar misshapen nuggets before going through a layer of batter, then a thin layer of breading, which includes white pepper and celery. It’s then coated with what Steward calls a “tempura coating” of wheat flour, corn flour and different types of starch. The nuggets are partially cooked, then flash frozen. 

Gena Bumgarner, who works in the facility’s sensory kitchen, claims she evaluates chicken McNuggets off the line every hour. 


“First we evaluate on appearance,” said Bumgarner. “We want to make sure it’s a light golden brown, make sure it has ridges and peaks, and then you need to have a slightly firm texture, but still juicy." 

Bumgarner also looks for a “chicken flavor” and some “light pepper and celery notes." 

At the end of the video, Imahara is back in a McDonald’s restaurant, chowing down on chicken McNuggets. They may be his new favorite food, on camera, but the jury is still out for the rest of us. 

But how do they make the Sweet n Sour sauce? Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_

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