Respectful Insolence

For some reason, I can’t seem to escape Chicken McNuggets. About a month ago, I expressed my complete amusement over an “investigation” of Chicken McNuggets done by everyone’s favorite crank and quackery promoter, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com. I’m tellin’ ya, it was like Inspector Clouseau with a microscope when Mike Adams expressed amazement that Chicken McNuggets looked strange and alien when viewed under a microscope. Hilariously, he’s at it again:

The Health Ranger’s forensic food investigation of Chicken McNuggets two months ago is making new waves across the industry. A new study published in the American Journal of Medicine appears to have been inspired by the Natural News publishing of photos revealing “strange fibers” in Chicken McNuggets, and it is now exploding across the mainstream media.

“Chicken Nuggets Contain Skin, Tissue, Blood Vessels and More,” blares one headline.

Another headline from The Atlantic says, “The Three Grossest Sentences You’ll Read About Chicken Nuggets Today.”

All the stories refer to a forensic microscopic investigation of chicken nuggets revealing that they contain all sorts of mysterious ingredients which are not chicken meat.


What Adams and The Atlantic are referring to is a study that examined chicken nuggets published in the American Journal of Medicine by Dr. Richard deShazo, UMMC professor of medicine, pediatrics and immunology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The study is entitled The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads “Chicken Little” and, I must say, it’s an example of a study type that I’ve never seen before: The pathological examination of a processed meat nugget. The study itself doesn’t reveal specifically which nuggets were studied, mentioning that the investigators went to two restaurants from national fast food chains in Jackson, MS and purchased a box of their chicken nuggets. Presumably (although it is not stated in the article), one of these restaurants was a McDonalds. After reading the rest of the methods, I must say that this is about the skimpiest paper I’ve seen published in a medical journal in a long, long time. Basically, all these guys did next was to pick one chicken nugget at random from each of the two boxes of chicken nuggets that they had purchased. These two chicken nuggets were then fixed in formalin and processed for standard histology by being embedded in paraffin and stained with standard hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) or trichrome stain. Here’s what the investigators found:

The nugget from the first restaurant (Figure 1) was composed of approximately 50% skeletal muscle, with the remainder composed primarily of fat, with some blood vessels and nerve present (Figure 1A, trichome stain, 40). Higher-power views showed generous quantities of epithelium and associated supportive tissue (Figure 1B, H&E, 400), including squamous epithelium from skin or viscera (Figure 1C, H&E, 100).

The nugget from the second restaurant (Figure 2) was composed of approximately 40% skeletal muscle (Figure 2A, trichome stain 40). Here too, there were generous quantities of fat and other tissue, including connective tissue (Figure 2B) and bone spicules (Figure 2C, both stained with H&E, 400).

Wow! Big surprise! It’s not as though it isn’t common knowledge that chicken nuggets are basically no more than processed “extras” from the chicken; so it’s not surprising that there would be skin, connective tissue, and the like there. Besides, as anyone who likes fried chicken knows, the skin can be the best part, particularly when breaded and fried up. Even in baked chicken the skin can be quite good. It’s also rather silly to be shocked that there were blood vessels found. Regular chicken meat has blood vessels in it and, yes, nerves too. These are structures that are commonly found embedded in or attached to muscle, which is all that meat is, anyway. Finally, it’s not surprising that there is a lot of fat in these “nuggets” as well. Basically, this is about as close to a “Well, duh!” finding as I can think of, and seeing deShazo express amazement at his findings in one of the all-time dumbest research press releases I’ve ever seen made me torn between headdesk or facepalm. He even recorded a video for his press release and expressed disbelief that chicken nuggets might not be as healthy to eat as lean chicken:

Ya think?

The other thing about this study is that it’s not really a study. Think about it. All these doctors did was to take two chicken nuggets, fix and stain them, and look at them under the microscope. There was no effort to make sure that there was a representative sample of the chicken nuggets. There was no effort to look at multiple sources and make quantitative estimates of meat and fat content. There was no evidence that they used image processing to give a reliable quantitative estimate fo fat versus muscle content. Basically, all they did was to have a pathologist “eyeball” a couple of fixed, stained chicken nuggets. It’s not a scientific study. Heck, it’s barely even an “autopsy” of chicken nuggets. It’s basically a quick observation written up in a very short article and published. Seriously, if the American Journal of Medicine accepts bottom-feeding minimal publishable units (MPUs) like this so readily, it’s clearly not a particularly good journal. If you’re going to do a study like this, then do a study. Don’t just look at a couple of chicken nuggets under the microscope and publish a paper. I can see the three steps here:

  1. Look at two chicken nuggets under the microscope.
  2. Write up a quickie paper about what the pathologist saw and publish it in a bottom-feeding journal
  3. Do a press release and a video
  4. Profit Get all sorts of media attention that isn’t deserved.

It worked, too. The press ate it up, at least for one news cycle, with stories showing up:

These are all basically regurgitations of the University of Mississippi’s press release. In this, they are actually even worst than Mike Adams’ treatment in that at least Mike Adams writes mostly his own prose and puts his own spin on it, as deceptive as that spin might be. On the other hand, Adams does, as usual, get a bit carried away:

What I appreciate about all this, by the way, is that Dr. deShazo’s team has reproduced and confirmed my original scientific findings. This is encouraging, as it means the Natural News Forensic Food Lab is now inspiring other scientists to test our findings and independently reproduce them. This is yet more confirmation of the value of the original scientific research we are conducting here at Natural News while publishing exclusive, original stories that break new ground in investigative journalism.

Possibly, but I doubt it. Adams’ “study” was published on August 16. It usually takes a heck of a lot longer than two months to get a paper published, even one that is as thin gruel as this one is. Peer review alone usually takes at least a month. Even if the paper is accepted on the first round, it’s usually at least another month or two before the manuscript is turned into a full-fledged publication, even with early publications. No, it’s highly doubtful that deShazo was inspired to fix and stain a Chicken McNugget or two and have a pathologist buddy of his look at it under the microscope. Also, even though deShazo’s paper reads as though it took a couple of hours to throw together, including looking at the chicken nuggets under the microscope. Of course, even that’s far better than the crappy attempt at “food investigation” that Mike Adams has done, because there were real doctors involved and a real pathologist looking at the sections.

Unfortunately, Adams promises us lots more where that came from. Perhaps the most gut-bustingly hilarious part of Adams’ take on this study is to follow. Now, please, before reading this next excerpt, put down any drinks you might have. Swallow any drink or food you might be in the midst of drinking or eating.

We welcome all scientists from around the world to subscribe to the Natural News email newsletter (see subscribe form, below) and receive direct email notifications as we publish new, original scientific research.

We also welcome scientific journals who wish to publish our upcoming original research to contact us more details. We are on the verge of publishing some of the most exciting, original and groundbreaking research the food industry has ever witnessed, and we are open to invitations from scientific journals who wish to benefit from the enormous exposure and publicity that will come from publishing our upcoming research, all of which adheres to strict scientific methods, integrity and reproducibility.

Clearly, Adams doesn’t know how publishing in scientific journals works. Scientific journals, at least reputable ones, don’t beg people like Mike Adams to publish their work. Scientists submit papers to journals and the manuscripts undergo peer review. If the manuscript is good enough and scientifically rigorous enough, the journal will publish it. Of course, the thought of Adams bragging about his research adhering to strict scientific methods and being highly reproducible causes a great nausea in the pit of my stomach, but it shouldn’t be anything that a little of the product of our pharma overlords shouldn’t be able to take care of.

In the meantime, as I’ve pointed out before, although I do occasionally partake of McDonalds and other fast food maybe about once a month or so, I’m not a big fan of Chicken McNuggets or other chicken nuggets. I just don’t like them all that much. So it’s not as though I have a dog in this hunt. Personally, I accept that chicken nuggets are made of some of the less—shall we say?—high quality parts of the chicken. I accept that they’re loaded with fat and all fried up in oil. They’re not particularly healthy as a food choice, and most people realize that. None of this means that it’s not worthwhile to occasionally remind people of these facts. However, papers like the University of Mississippi paper are basically “Well, duh!” studies that aren’t particularly well done and don’t really tell us anything we don’t already know.

Comments

  1. #1 ChrisP
    October 7, 2013

    What an appalling paper. It would have been simple and relatively cheap to have done this so much better. Even after reading the introduction, I am struggling with the research question being addressed. Surely if they wanted to measure composition of a chicken nugget, you would do it quantitatively, by you know measuring some stuff like protein, fat, etc rather accurately.

  2. #2 Yerushalmi
    October 7, 2013

    I wait for the ground-breaking study that proves that chicken nuggets are made of chicken.

  3. #3 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    October 7, 2013

    I saw this ‘news’ come up on my Facebook feed, and I said to myself, “Their sample size couldn’t have been *2*. I must be reading that wrong.”

    To my dismay, I wasn’t.

    I didn’t even bother with the rest of it – the fact that the lazy bastiches only looked at 2 nuggets is simply appalling.

    U Miss should be very, very ashamed for itself.

  4. #4 lilady
    October 7, 2013

    Chicken Nuggets study? It’s already been done and published by Consumer Reports:

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2010/june/food/chicken-nuggets/overview/chicken-nuggets-ov.htm

    I’m thinking that any chicken pressed into cute little shapes then battered and fried is mystery meat. I’ll take my flash frozen yummy free-range chicken breasts packaged in 6 individual see-through sleeves from Costco, anytime.

  5. #5 Ralph
    Upstate NY
    October 7, 2013

    A foolish study. Everbody knows chicken nuggets are made from lips and assholes.

  6. #6 TexDoc
    United States
    October 7, 2013

    When I was a pathology resident, we thought it would be fun to grab some food from the cafeteria and do frozen sections on the various items (a frozen is a rapid version of the tissue processing Orac described above, used in intraoperative consultation). If I knew I could get a quick publication, I’d have done a shocking take down of the hotdog industry. Anyone with two functioning neurons could guess what’s in a hotdog, but some would act horrified none the less. The fact someone would actually publish this “research” makes it clear that in every medical school class, someone graduates last. (I still eat hotdogs, by the way)

  7. #7 ChrisP
    October 7, 2013

    It has been true for years that the famous meat pie is moslty made up of gravy with bits of snouts, trotters and salivary glands floating in it. They still get eaten at the footy washed down with beer out of plastic cups.

  8. #8 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    October 7, 2013

    I find it especially amusing that a pair of Southerners would get all verklempt over there being chicken *skin* in chicken nuggets. I mean, wouldn’t they consider that the best part of the bird? Crispy, greasy, gooey, especially when slathered in buttermilk, dredged in seasoned flour, and deep fat fried – I’d better stop before I get drool over my keyboard.

    All proof positive that any food is gross when you look at it/think about it hard enough.

    - Lucario (Northern by birth, Southern by the grace of DOYC)

  9. #9 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    October 7, 2013

    They have known for years that some fast food chicken has been some what processed, but it’s all chicken parts.

    Parts is parts.

    http://youtu.be/y_oem9BqUTI

  10. #10 herr doktor bimler
    October 7, 2013

    The pathological examination of a processed meat nugget

    Did they work out what the chickens died of?

  11. #11 Chris Hickie
    October 7, 2013

    I saw this ‘news’ come up on my Facebook feed, and I said to myself, “Their sample size couldn’t have been *2*. I must be reading that wrong.”

    But it was chosen randomly, so that makes it “scientific”.

    They should have at least been made to cross section a chicken in toto and report what they saw under the microscope as a “control”.

  12. #12 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 7, 2013

    I wonder if they’d find skeletal muscle, skin, fat, nerve tissue, blood, connective tissue, and yes, even bone if they did a similar autopsy of a KFC chicken thigh?

  13. #13 Dangerous Bacon
    October 7, 2013

    “Chicken Nuggets Contain Skin, Tissue, Blood Vessels and More,” blares one headline.”

    Euggh, chicken skin, how gross! I’m sure the media will immediately peel off and discard any skin on their broiled or fried chicken from here on out. And “tissue” – ye gods!
    Except that “tissue” describes any plant or animal product that we eat. We’re not talking Kleenex here.
    And of course it’s impossible to eat any meat without consuming “blood vessels”.

    Given the stupidity of the media coverage here (and its low quality on most scientific/medical issues, it’s hard for me to accept press gripes about how blogging and similar “amateur” Internet enterprises are killing off “serious” coverage of news events.

  14. #14 Sebastian Jackson
    October 7, 2013

    Very much off-topic, but: has anyone seen Jake Crosby’s latest hit job on “Autism Investigated”? Specifically the comment thread? Ginger Taylor is still trying to reason with him after all these months of his rogue behavior, and is about as successful in doing so as you’d expect: http://www.autisminvestigated.com/canary-party-vp-autism/

  15. #15 Pris
    The Dark Side of the Force
    October 7, 2013

    I regularly eat cartilage.

    Mostly chicken and pork.

    If I eat roasted pork belly in a bun while on the go I won’t spit out the bits of cartilage in there. I’ll just crunch them down and eat them. It’s much less hassle than spitting them out in a napkin and then trying to find a bin to put them in!

    When eating chicken I miss a bit of cartilage while sawing of my bite of chicken I’ll crunch it down and eat it instead of spitting it out and having nasty bits of half chewed food on my plate.
    This I only do when I’m eating somewhere like a work do.

  16. #16 Lawrence
    October 7, 2013

    @SJ – I saw that. Of course, it looks like Jake is John Best’s new best friend….that’s not going to end well.

  17. #17 palindrom
    October 7, 2013

    This “study” is of course extraordinarily silly, but if there ever was a case in which a tiny sample size was justified, this would have to be it. Chicken McNuggets are about as identical as any two macroscopic objects could be.

    If Chicken McNuggest were any more identical, then exchanging any two of them in an ensemble would result in the same state, for the purposes of statistical mechanics.

  18. #18 AnObservingParty
    October 7, 2013

    1.Look at some nuggets under the microscope.
    2.Write up a quickie paper and publish it in a bottom-feeding journal
    3.Do a press release and a video
    4. Profit Get all sorts of media attention that isn’t deserved.

    Anytime someone gives a press conference and we’re not in the middle of a potential WHO Phase 6 pandemic scenario, I get suspicious. Why do they always seem to accompany spectacularly meaningless, crappy “studies” affirming that meat has blood vessel and nervous tissue in it? In fact, because nuggets are less than good quality, they may find more of those intact in lean chicken breast.

    Someone needs to look at the composition of Chipotle next. Ooooh, and Pandora Bread Bowls. So that I can find out what I already knew and eat them anyway.

    I will say, for a craptacularly pointless as that was, it is downright hilarious that Mr. Adams is comparing his looking at nuggets under a basic microscope to histologic examination done by a pathologist. Or that he thinks “scientific” (notice he doesn’t say “peer-reviewed”) journals actively search for content. No Mr. Adams, you contact them to get denied. They don’t look for you.

  19. #19 AnObservingParty
    October 7, 2013

    @ Dangerous Bacon

    If I could buy chicken made entirely of skin I would. Skin’s the best part.

  20. #20 Sebastian Jackson
    October 7, 2013

    @Lawrence: I keep wondering just how far down the rabbit hole Jake will go. Or maybe how far down his mother and his splinter sect of fans will push him.

  21. #21 Eric Lund
    October 7, 2013

    You know that old saying about the making of sausages and laws? The sausage part of that can easily be extended to any processed meat-like product.

    They say the samples were obtained at two different locations, but were they two McDonald’s restaurants, or two different restaurants altogether? I’m sure every McDonald’s, at least in a given part of the country, would have the same supplier, but somebody else’s chicken nuggets might come from a different source.

  22. #22 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2013

    MIkey’s latest ‘research’ is merely a new leading edge in a much larger ongoing campaign that he and other woo-meisters have been perpetrating for years:
    carrying out an “investigation” ( or giving the details of others’ work) and then proclaiming that there is something terrible or dangerous in the foods average people eat.

    Here are a few examples of the way this ruse transpires:
    ( and this is just off the top of my head)

    - he recently ran a few articles about arsenic in chicken
    - he often describes additives. preservatives and enhancers in food
    - he writes about contamination in places like China
    - he says that bread includes wood fibres
    - he writes about how products in stores from China are labelled ‘organic’ when they most assuredly are not
    - Null usually gives disgusting details about processed meat and slaughter houses- the latter lifted right out of ‘The Jungle’ – that’s up-to-date and cutting edge for you!
    - both speak of the horrible abuse animals/ birds are subjected to prior to slaughter
    - Null describes how the fear/ pain the animal feels as it dies is transmuted into drug-like chemicals that affect its consumer emotionally ( take that, Temple Grandin!)
    -And it’s not just meat and poultry either:
    grain products contain bugs, larvae et al. Corn and soy are contaminated even down to their genes – as most are GMO today. Milk contains pus and bacteria ( yet raw is called superior) ; sea food, fish and marine plants are now radioactive thanks to the leakage of Fukushima. Other products are seemingly drenched in pesticides.
    - drugs that are excreted by pharma-tools find their way into the water supply and then into food.
    - high fructose corn products are added to most everything.
    - no water is pure

    Most products of factory farming are thus unfit for consumption-

    only organic, small operations or personal, backyard-grown foods are beyond suspicion. City folk should take over abandoned lots and create organic gardens. Of course, it would be even better if they abandoned the cities altogether and moved out to the country to begin ‘homesteading’.

    If the standard fare people consume is so deadly, followers look to their ‘educators’ about what IS healthy because as we all KNOW, all illness is caused by diet (!)

    Woo-meisters are happy to oblige them and provide a long list of supplements and prepared powders, store-ables and freeze dried organics ( see store Gary Null.com / Natural News.com) .

    Because the qualifications foods must pass to be declared ‘kosher’ by them are so stringent and multi-layered ( organic, GMO-free, metal-free, additive free, vegan, free-range- obviously not both simultaneously- , raw, etc), a true believer knows that he or she needs to beef-up on pure products to compensate for the alarmingly bad things they ingest and so buys gratefully from their informer, rewarding him for his educational contributions.

    Mike decalres that his investigates will lead to a massive scandal that will rock governmental agencies concerned with food safety WORLDWIDE.

    I can hardly wait.

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2013

    …DECLARES that his INVESTIGATIONS..

  24. #24 Chris Hickie
    October 7, 2013

    Well, I can’t justify $30 to read this online, but it looks like a contender for an ignobel prize nomination.

    I like the conclusion: “Chicken nuggets are mostly fat, and their name is a misnomer.. To be accurate, it’s not a misnomer if the fat is chicken fat, since that would still make it a “nugget” of chicken.

    What were these clowns expecting to find? The lost Monet?

  25. #25 lilady
    October 7, 2013

    @ Dr. Chris: That two chicken nugget study is definitely a contender for the 2014 Public Health Ignoble Prize:

    http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/

    “PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde, for the medical techniques described in their report “Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam” — techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck. [THAILAND]

    REFERENCE: “Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam,” by Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde, American Journal of Surgery, 1983, no. 146, pp. 376-382.
    - See more at: http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/#sthash.apX2XFjL.dpuf

  26. #26 lilady
    October 7, 2013

    ^ Ig Nobel Prize

  27. #27 Chris,
    October 7, 2013

    Orac: “It’s also rather silly to be shocked that there were blood vessels found. Regular chicken meat has blood vessels in it and, yes, nerves too.”

    I am sure that is only a surprise to someone who has never cut up a whole chicken and just gets the sanitized bits in a plastic wrapper next to the whole gutted chicken! And yes, I have had to pluck and butcher a whole chicken, it was not fun. But I definitely learned much of its anatomy.

  28. #28 Beamup
    October 7, 2013

    No, the Ig Nobels try to be about research that sounds ridiculous but then turns out to be meaningful. (“Makes you laugh, then makes you think.”) They don’t normally reward pure pseudoscience.

  29. #29 Khani
    October 7, 2013

    And there you have it, folks.

    Orac isn’t a pharma shill at all.

    He’s a McShill.

    I bet your Frylord paymasters ship you tons of McNuggets every time you mention McDonalds, don’t they! Shame on you. Delicious, delicious shame.

  30. #30 Orac
    October 7, 2013

    Nahhh. Big Macs and Filet o’ Fish. :-)

  31. #31 lsm
    October 7, 2013

    I wonder if Mikey will report his scientific analysis of a lettuce leaf, when he discovers *gasp* veins, tissue, and who knows what else?

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2013

    There’s another reason why Mike points out ‘research’ like this:
    he’s trying to convince his audience that he’s a real scientist and that bonafided researchers are emulating HIM!

    As the other idiot often notes, he’s way “ahead of the curve” and has already done as a ‘research fellow’ 30 years ago what regular, standard-issue, light weight researchers are doing today and which is being heralded by peer-reviewed journals as ‘ground breaking’.

    It’s an integral part of the fancy dress ball otherwise known as alt med or woo.
    Don’t forget that followers go back to the trough..I mean the websites, frequently thus our repeat offenders get them involved in programmed learning over weeks and months.

    What’s that thing about… frequency, recency, intensity?

  33. #33 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2013

    OMFG!

    Now Orac will be quoted by every woo-meister on the planet about his menu choices thus validating their argument that he knows nothing!

    -btw- I like cheap, frozen, breaded chicken bits myself every now and then.

  34. #34 Narad
    October 7, 2013

    It usually takes a heck of a lot longer than two months to get a paper published, even one that is as thin gruel as this one is. Peer review alone usually takes at least a month.

    The full articles don’t even include a history line, but a quick examination of the DOIs strongly suggests that they encode either the submission or the acceptance month. For example, Marcus et al., “Alternate-day Dosing with Statins,” from the February 2013 number, is 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.08.007. This would put deShazo et al. in May.

  35. #35 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 7, 2013

    Good grief and in other news the sky is blue, grass is green and the sun rises in the East. How exactly does Mikey extrapolate “replication” of “his work” from this lame ass report that I honestly thought was a parody?

    Mikey found “mysterious fibres” on a McNugget with his Fisher-Price “I wanna be a scientist too” microscope; a couple of scientists from MS found chicken parts in a chicken nugget and that’s replication?

  36. #36 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 7, 2013

    If I could buy chicken made entirely of skin I would. Skin’s the best part.

    AOP, ever have gribenes? You’ll love it.

  37. #37 Narad
    October 7, 2013

    One might also note that deShazo et al.’s brief reference list has a number of URLs with access dates noted in early April. I have a hard time believing that there’s a five-month lead time from acceptance to corrected proof, which the scatter in the “in press” DOIs confirms, so it’s likely the submission month.

  38. #38 Tara
    October 7, 2013

    Mike and his groundbreaking research, stunning the scientific world, as usual.

  39. #39 Calli Arcale
    October 7, 2013

    Oh good gracious. Who knew? Chicken McNuggets are made of chicken!

    Honestly, at this point I’m convinced that some folks actually have grown up not really understanding that meat is part of a dead animal. You’d think *physicians* would have a better idea of the fact that meat is not actually a homogenous mass of skeletal muscle cells, but apparently not. I mean, being shocked at the presence of veins? Where exactly do they expect the muscle tissue to get nutrients from if not veins? I guess even people who make a career out of anatomy can still totally misunderstand how meat products are made.

  40. #40 Shay
    communing with the shades of Otto von Bismarck
    October 7, 2013

    Eric@#21 — you stole my comment, darn you.

    Lucario, I think Southerners will eat deep fried anything. I’m half Texan on my mamma’s side and the apple has not fallen far from the tree.

  41. #41 Jerry A.
    United States
    October 7, 2013

    My biggest surprise is that there’s chicken meat in ‘nuggets’. Meanwhile, was the general public really expecting lean free-range organic health food cordon bleu McNuggets? Wake me up when an MD publishes a real scientific paper.

  42. #42 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    October 7, 2013

    Pris @ #15:

    Cartilage (which along with gristle, is what it assume they’re referring to as “connective tissue’ in the paper) is unpleasant to bite into, but it won’t kill you, unless you choke ona large hunk of the stuff and there’s nobody around to Heimlich you.

    …and now I have that Beavis and Butt-head episode in my head where Beavis ends up choking on a chicken nugget. The less said about that, the better.

  43. #43 Narad
    October 7, 2013

    Very much off-topic, but: has anyone seen Jake Crosby’s latest hit job on “Autism Investigated”?

    He seems to have corrected that “doctoral candidate” business.

  44. #44 waxonwaxoff
    October 7, 2013

    None of you here are professional chefs or butchers and therefore do not have the expertise to criticize these studies!

  45. #45 Carl
    October 7, 2013

    I don’t know why connective tissue and fat are “gross” and muscle tissue is OK. There could easily be an alternate reality in which popular opinion goes the other way.

    “Yuck, you eat the MUSCLE from the chicken?”
    “What’s the big deal? The Asians do it all the time. It’s supposed to have a lot of protein.”
    “So what? It’s all red and bloody. FFFFING GROSS.”

  46. #46 herr doktor bimler
    October 7, 2013

    “Chicken nuggets are mostly fat, and their name is a misnomer..”
    They are not in fact small rounded pieces of gold or mineral ore.

    I think Southerners will eat deep fried anything. I’m half Texan on my mamma’s side and the apple has not fallen far from the tree.

    Wait, what? You deep-fry apples?

  47. #47 novalox
    October 7, 2013

    @waxonwaxoff

    Well, I worked as a butcher and fishmonger when I was in college so I can say that was a pointless study.

    Does that count?

  48. #48 waxonwaxoff
    October 7, 2013

    Clearly you are in the pocket then of Long John Silver’s. Admit it, you are a shill for big popcorn shrimp!

  49. #49 herr doktor bimler
    October 7, 2013

    I would welcome an analysis of surimi / crab sticks that could quantify the amount of fish in the finished product versus the amount of fish parasites.

  50. #50 Chris HIckie
    October 7, 2013

    @ Lilady #25–well, after that, I may never be able to order Siam Duck at my local Thai restaurant again.

  51. #51 Delurked Lurker
    On the shore of a cosmic ocean
    October 7, 2013

    @SJ

    Priceless and thanks for the link

    “You blocked me on facebook and now you are going to die”

    ROFLMAO :)

  52. #52 Chris HIckie
    October 7, 2013

    From Matt Groening’s “School is Hell” (and maybe Adam’s next piece of research): “A fish stick is not fish, nor is it a stick. It is a fungus.”

  53. #53 palindrom
    October 7, 2013

    Chris @52 – mention of that Groening series reminds me of my favorite joke from it, the title of the last panel, on grad school: “Grad School: Some People Never Learn”

    And Carl @45 – I heard somewhere, perhaps in Gary Taubes’ book on fat in the diet, that the Arctic explorer Steffanson, having observed the Inuit diet, inferred that one could live on meat alone — a “zero-carb” diet.. Experiments to show this failed at first, because the participants ate good, lean meat, which left them with all kinds of deficiencies. But once they started eating lots of the fat, too, they were fine. I forget which essential nutrients are not found in muscle tissue, but it’s certainly an incomplete source of nutrition.

    We certainly have heard of how the Inuit spend those long winters — sitting around chewing the fat!

  54. #54 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2013

    Perhaps some of you are wondering what Mikey eats…

    He eats raw,organic vegetables/ fruits that he grows and free range chickens that he raises all by himself.. which he then supplements with the infamous green SMOOTHIES that he always rags on about ( see videos):
    he whips up avocado/ cacao drinks heavily laced with protein powder, Rejuvenate! powders, coconut sugar, chia seeds, chlorella and any number of other powders ( camu camu, spirulina, mangosteen, acai, goji berries, hemp seed, maca, collostrum)- all of which are conveniently available- AND organic/ GMO free- at his store ( except the avocado, you need to get your own somewhere else).

    Null similarly pushes his many powders ( see store @ Gary Null.com) and advocates a low protein regime of mostly raw, organic, vegan ‘gourmet’ cuisine / pictured at locus labelled “retreat” / @ same website. Cook books and instructtional videos also available at the same website.

  55. #55 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 7, 2013

    Wait, what? You deep-fry apples?

    What, you never heard of an apple fritter? How about a fried pie?

  56. #56 Krebiozen
    October 7, 2013

    palindrom,

    Arctic explorer Steffanson, having observed the Inuit diet, inferred that one could live on meat alone — a “zero-carb” diet

    There is carbohydrate in meat – muscles and liver contain carbohydrates stored as glycogen, though I’m not sure we can metabolize ingested glycogen (anyone?). We can, of course, make carbohydrates from both fats and protein anyway. Surprisingly, perhaps, meat also contains vitamin C, since most animals make their own ascorbate – there is more ascorbate by weight in raw beef liver than in an orange.

  57. #57 Krebiozen
    October 7, 2013

    Carl,

    I don’t know why connective tissue and fat are “gross” and muscle tissue is OK. There could easily be an alternate reality in which popular opinion goes the other way.

    Fatty cuts of meat are more highly valued than lean cuts in parts of Africa, just as plumper people are considered more attractive than thinner ones. I have related the tale of my skinny Nigerian friend who was always outshone by her larger sisters when in Nigeria, but was suddenly the center of attention when she moved to London. I was at her wedding, and observed her wallflower sisters looking very grumpy as man after man whirled their svelte sibling around the dance-floor.

  58. #58 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 7, 2013

    Fatty cuts of meat are more highly valued than lean cuts in parts of Africa

    There are here as well, up to a point. Did you ever see the price of a prime rib eye steak compared to a select round steak? Want to guess which has more fat?

  59. #59 JustNuts
    October 7, 2013

    “no water is pure”

    Yep – It’s all low “C” homeopathic!

  60. #60 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    October 7, 2013

    Krebiozen: You would think that glycogen is roughly comparable to starch in terms of human digestion, since they are very similar except for the higher level of branching in glycogen. We make the amylases in saliva and in pancreatic secretions, so it’s a curious question, isn’t it? Of course we get a lot of carbohydrate from meat anyway, because proteins are hydrolyzed to amino acids, and amino acids are readily deaminated to carbohydrates of various types.

  61. #61 Mike
    October 7, 2013

    There are thousands of papers in meat science, poultry science and animal science journals about processed meat products through the use of thermally induced meat gels. It is usually a bad paper when researchers in one field attempt to do research in another field without consulting with others in that field.

  62. #62 eLiot
    UK
    October 7, 2013

    Are you for real? Science blogs? Hard evidence? with noses in your bums, scientists…utter BS

  63. #63 herr doktor bimler
    October 7, 2013

    my skinny Nigerian friend who was always outshone by her larger sisters when in Nigeria, but was suddenly the center of attention when she moved to London

    That is unpossible, Krebiozen, for I have been informed by any number of evolutionary psychologists that human ideals of sexual attractiveness are universal, hard-wired and immutable.

  64. #64 Krebiozen
    October 7, 2013

    M.O’B.,

    There are here as well, up to a point. Did you ever see the price of a prime rib eye steak compared to a select round steak? Want to guess which has more fat?

    Isn’t this mostly because the presence of fat (allegedly) makes the lean part of the meat more succulent after cooking? It’s interesting that the only reference to cultural preferences in this area I could find contradicts what I was taught at university:

    It is interesting that the U.S. and Japan are the only countries where a high degree of marbling is valued. In South America, Europe and Africa consumers prefer a leaner beef.

    I do think there are parts of Africa where this isn’t true. I’ll have to ask the various Africans I know if I have been misled, though they are relatively wealthy Africans who have migrated to the UK and it may relate to food scarcity and the high calorific content of fat as compared to protein. My point was that many of our food (and other) preferences are cultural and learned, so we may find other cultures’ preferences the opposite of ours.

  65. #65 Krebiozen
    October 7, 2013

    Bob G,
    Does amylase break down glycogen? It would be an easy experiment to carry out: all you need is some glycogen (a bit of meat perhaps), some amylase (saliva might do at a pinch) and some Benedict’s solution. I have access to all these, but first I need some sleep, and it might not seem so sensible in the morning!

  66. #66 Calli Arcale
    October 7, 2013

    Mephistopheles — indeed, even in the US, fatty meat is more prized. The fat content of the most expensive cut, the filet mignon, is an excellent case in point. What gives it that juiciness and downright buttery flavor? Fat, and plenty of it! If you want super lean meat, well, that’s where lean, finely-textured beef comes in. “Pink slime”. There’s a bit of a mixed message from these folks, frankly, that demonstrates the tremendous depth of their culinary ignorance.

  67. #67 Chris,
    October 8, 2013

    eLiot: “Are you for real?”

    The question is, eLiot, is are you for real? Do you deny that chicken meant contains nerves and blood vessels? Or do you think that all meat magically appears at your local store cleaned up and wrapped in plastic?

    Are you one of those folks whose closest encounter with a cow is at the supermarket dairy aisle? Newsflash: specially bred animals turn grass into milk and it is removed twice a day from bovine versions of boobs.

    Plus, chickens are actually very similar to the little birdies that fly around outside, that area you need to go to when you leave the house and have to go to school. It is just that they get bred and fed in large buildings, and then when just a few months old are killed, gutted, plucked and cut up to be wrapped in plastic at your local grocery. Some of the lesser bits get mushed into cubes, dredges and deep fried into nuggets.

    This not news, since those of us who have dealt with whole chickens (even when they were alive) know how to use most of them, including the feet. There are even restaurants that serve the feet as crunchy munchies.

    So get real. The paper was just a joke because it tried make something that is part of real life sound ridiculously “scary.”

    By the way, because raising chickens in backyards has become popular I just did a Google of “chicken butchery”, and found lots of classes in a two hundred kilometer radius (Google uses location in its search algorithm). Though this article about a bunny butchering class was in my local paper. :-)

  68. #68 Chris,
    October 8, 2013

    Ugh, I wish I had a preview… I screwed up spelling, grammar and the URL link. I will ignore the grammar but reproduce the link:
    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021941280_cityrabbitsxml.html

  69. #69 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
    MINI MESSAGE HCOB33902833203
    October 8, 2013

    MINI MESSAGE BEGINS———————

    Well, now I’m hungry. Who want’s to go out for KFF? Your evil overlord is buying . . .

    LDZ, VH7ihl
    ——————-MINI MESSAGE ENDS

  70. #70 DLC
    October 8, 2013

    I confess, I eat at McDs sometimes. I even have the Chicken McNuggets. dumped in hot mustard sauce they aren’t too bad.
    (but then many things are improved by being dredged through sauce. ) And, truth be told, McDs products aren’t as healthy as say, eating an equivalent food mass in tofu chunks. But part of “quality of life” is making the occasional decision to eat something not so good for you.
    Oh, and the poorly done study authors should have their wrists slapped. Oh and Mike Adams should be rapped across the knuckles.

  71. #71 Nick Theodorakis
    October 8, 2013

    @Krebiozen #65:

    Does amylase break down glycogen? It would be an easy experiment to carry out: all you need is some glycogen (a bit of meat perhaps), some amylase (saliva might do at a pinch) and some Benedict’s solution. I have access to all these, but first I need some sleep, and it might not seem so sensible in the morning!

    Alpha-amylase can break down the internal alpha1-4 linkages in amylose, amylopectin, or glycogen. It has no activity on alpha 1-6 linkages (present in amylopectin or glycogen).

    Here seems to be a lab exercise using glycogen as a substrate for amylase.

  72. #72 Denice Walter
    October 8, 2013

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

    A few weeks ago, Mikey promised us that he would abruptly curtail his end-of-civilisation-as-we-know-it, spittle-flecked rants about politics and the economy and assiduously focus on science. This pledge brought us revelatory, independent investigations like his examination of the composition of chicken nuggets under high magnification.

    HOWEVER it appears that he has changed his mind- and he’s back to his habituated vitriol spewing about that black man in the white house, China’s wrath and governmental confiscation of citizens’ wealth. He tosses around words like
    “dictator” and”coup” in regards to someone who was fairly elected by a majority of voters. He speaks about truckers (?) convening in the capitol in order to arrest congress people.
    “It’s time for the People to Rise Up” again.. or suchlike.

    Obviously, Mikey can’t refrain from inflammatory speech about governments even when he is engaged in inflammatory speech about evil corporations and their attempts at widespread poisoning of the population by distributing dangerous products.

    Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.

    …As a sidenote, although I do believe that most of what he – and PRN’s chief honcho- say is to galvanise audience loyalty and thus, ultimately increase sales, I DO also believe that deep down inside, they are not play-acting as libertarian, fear mongers.. they really are this mad – in both senses of the word.

  73. #73 Shay
    not holding my breath waiting for the revolution
    October 8, 2013

    Yeah, wingnuts are big on someone else doing their fighting for them; many I’ve read are begging for a military overthrow and getting very cranky that the Armed Forces isn’t interested.

    November 19th appears to be der Tag. Why that date was picked, I don’t know.

  74. #74 Shay
    October 8, 2013

    “aren’t” interested. Subject-verb agreement fail.

  75. #75 Scottynuke
    October 8, 2013

    @ MO’B #55 — I’m more concerned with the deep-fried trees myself…

    :)

  76. #76 Gray Falcon
    October 8, 2013

    To be honest with you, I’m not sure I could have eaten anything called a “nugget” after I turned twelve. That said, I know a few places that sell good fried chicken strips, identifiable as actual chicken meat, or at least having the proper texture.

  77. #77 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 8, 2013

    I generally don’t eat any boneless chicken because, well, because of this… http://www.madedition.com/wp-content/uploads/Boneless-Chicken-Ranch-Far-Side.jpg

  78. #78 Interrobang
    October 8, 2013

    I can’t imagine someone freaking out because a food object made of meat might have blood vessels in it. I wonder what these people would think of people who eat bone marrow, tendon, or brain?

    (Bone marrow’s not bad, I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat tendon again, and brain is too much for me.)

  79. #79 herr doktor bimler
    October 8, 2013

    Oh, and the poorly done study authors should have their wrists slapped.

    In their next study they will place teeth in a glass of Coca Cola to see how fast they dissolve.

  80. #80 Denice Walter
    October 8, 2013

    @ herr doktor:

    I think that Mike, like other CEOs, now finds himself in the unhappy position that he’s become so successful in his corporate venture that his underlings are afraid to step forward and say, ” Dude/ Mister ( choose one) that sounds like the demonstrations our teacher did in class when we were 10″. Or no one corrects his obviously glaring errors of word usage or pronunciation. Or tells him that he dresses badly or has a bad haircut. It’s one of the drawbacks of great financial triumph.

  81. #81 Delurked Lurker
    On a planet where time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
    October 8, 2013

    I am surprised chicken nuggets have a significant proportion of skeletal muscle in them. A bonus I would think considering what I thought was in them in the first place, being cloacha’s and feet…hmmm what is the plural of cloacha ?

  82. #82 Delurked Lurker
    October 8, 2013

    ;)

    correction cloaca :)

  83. #83 c0nc0rdance
    October 10, 2013

    Chickens are avian dinosaurs. Consider the marvelous way it sounds:
    “I like to dip my dinosaur nuggets in ranch dressing… it really brings out the rich flavor of dinosaur.”

    They could have reframed and retitled this article “Pathology of recently prepared dinosaur skeletal muscle”.

  84. #84 fluidtherapy
    October 10, 2013

    So, might I presume that Mikey and the followers of his naivete have never sampled the delectable offerings of a street vendor in SE Asia? Veins and nerves and skin, oh my!

  85. #85 herr doktor bimler
    October 10, 2013

    Chickens are avian dinosaurs.

    Every bantam thinks it’s T. rex and cannot be convinced otherwise.

  86. #86 Shay
    who prefers nuggets that are nice and sparkly
    October 10, 2013

    So, might I presume that Mikey and the followers of his naivete have never sampled the delectable offerings of a street vendor in SE Asia? Veins and nerves and skin, oh my!

    And shigellosis.

  87. #87 Mike
    October 11, 2013

    A small correction to a comment about tenderloin. The tenderloin in beef is not tender and flavorful due to fat. The tednerloin (psaoas major) is a relatively lean muscle. The tenderness comes from being a muscle that has no attachment to bone. As such, it has very little connective tissue and the sarcomeres tend to be slightly longer. This results in a far more tender cut of meat.

  88. #88 Ausduck
    October 13, 2013

    I have to say that I’m surprised that the the percentage of muscle in the chicken nuggets is as high as what was found :)

    As to Mikey – can’t help laughing at the notion of validation to his ‘scienctific research’ that he seems to have.

  89. #89 Dan
    October 17, 2013

    My mate and I once paraffin-embedded sausage-based products in the lab (mid-90′s) and saw lots of different tissues within. Breast, skin etc. even some muscle!

    I didn’t realise we had missed out on a publication and subsequent Ig-Nobel prize!

  90. #90 AWS
    November 3, 2013

    “… the NaturalNews Forensic Food Lab…” Where’s that, exactly? Mike’s kitchen? This guy never ceases to amaze me.

  91. #91 Sarah
    November 6, 2013

    I saw this video pop up in my news feed, and everyone was all “ew, gross, yuck, look at how icky!” I just had to laugh and said, have you ever seen lean chicken breast under a microscope? EVERYTHING looks nasty under a microscope, especially when you don’t know what you’re looking at!

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