Monday, February 6, 2012

Why More Bones May Be Showing Up In Chicken Nuggets

McDonald's chicken nuggets are advertised as bone FREE or boneless. But that advertising is not always true.

I am representing a family that had an unfortunate run in with a bone IN chicken nugget. Mom, Dad and their two children, one of whom was an 8 year old little girl went to a local McDonald's in Pennsylvania. They pull up to the drive through. Everyone orders. The kids get happy meals. Dad drives home. He pulls into their driveway. The little girl can't contain herself and tears into her happy meal. The family gets out of the car. They walk through the driveway. The little girl pops a nugget in her mouth. She begins to choke. Her dad sees her turning blue. He frantically starts compressing her stomach attempting the Heimlich. He feels her starting to pass out. And then, finally, the nugget comes shooting out. The little girl is hysterical. Mom consoles her. The girl goes inside. Dad examines the nugget. In it, he finds an inch and a half long bone inside.

Amazingly, this is not an isolated incident. Erick Fickes, author of I heart internets, had a similar experience happen to his daughter. He wrote a great blog post about it titled McDonald's Chicken Nuggets Are Not Boneless. And, as you will see, a number of other people commented on the post relating similar experiences. I am also guessing there are no shortage of other people across the country that have experienced similar "surprises" in their nuggets.

This increased frequency of bones in chicken nuggets got me thinking. Why, all of a sudden, does there seem to be more instances of bones in these nuggets? Well I have a theory.The photo above was extensively passed around for the past couple of years, and for good reason: it showed the rarely-seen world of mechanically separated meat.

The Hufffington Post reported in Pre-Chicken Nugget Meat Paste, AKA Mechanically Separated Poultry [Updated] that:

"Someone figured out in the 1960s that meat processors can eek out a few more percent of profit from chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows by scraping the bones 100% clean of meat. This is done by machines, not humans, by passing bones leftover after the initial cutting through a high pressure sieve. The paste you see in the picture above is the result."

"There's more: because it's crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia... Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.The resulting paste goes on to become the main ingredient in many of America's favorite mass-produced and processed meat-like foods and snacks: bologna, hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, Slim Jim-like jerkys, and of course the ever-polarizing chicken nugget, where the paste from the photo above was likely destined."

Obviously, chicken paste, despite how gross it is, served one good person it ensured that the chicken nuggets created from it were bone free.  But the Huffington Post provides the following update:

"Although mass produced chicken nuggets at large may contain mechanically separated chicken, McDonald's famous McNuggets no longer do contain "mechanically separated poultry as defined by the federal government. The USDA now requires foods with mechanically separated poultry to be labeled as containing "mechanically separated chicken or turkey" in their ingredients lists."  So apparently, McDonald's, not wanting to have to label its food "mechanically separated chicken" (because isn't that super appetizing?) opted to discontinue that process.  It would be my guess that the new process they use to create their chicken nuggets increases the likelihood that bones will be cooked into the nuggets.  The problem, aside from the obvious danger, is that McDonald's still has a labeling problem.  Because it would seem there is simply too high a likelihood nuggets will have bones in them for McDonald's, in good faith, to advertise this food as bone free.

Interesting stuff!

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  1. Ugh, I just found a piece of bone in my Mcnugget last night.

  2. I found a bone in my chicken nugget. When I bit into it I broke a tooth. I choked while trying not to swallow it. I managed to not swallow the bone but did swallow my tooth. They sent the bone out to be tested to make sure I didn't supply the bone. When they made contact with me. Some lady offered me $50.00. Do they think it is no big deal. I lost a tooth and could have choked to death. Heartless ________

  3. my daughter is 22 months old and last night she was turning blue as a bone was stuck in her throat from a chicken nugget i am extremley annoyed about this and want to know what i can do legally about this ?

  4. Just the other day my daughter bit into a chicken nugget and a large bone the size of the width of a boot shaped chicken nugget stuck her gums along side of her tooth. I went to the front counter asked for the manager and let her know, she was a acting supervisor. Just a few minutes later the manager walked in and she was made aware of what happened and came over gave me a few free meal cards and asked for my name and number so she can pass the information along the chain to her boss, i showed her the bone (but i kept it). She said I should hear from him soon, still havent heard from him. When I got home, i looked at it more and my mind is more curious about the bone. I want to get it checked out, make sure it isnt a rodent or anything. My daughter is 2 and ive never experienced this before. Im furious to see her in that pain and dont know what to do. She was so excited for me to buy her chicken nuggets, but it turned out to be a horrible experience.

  5. Everyone,

    Sorry for the slow reply. I would imagine everyone is from different states that has responded. It never hurts to get the opinion of a good attorney. I practice only in Pennsylvania. If I can do anything to help, please let me know.


  6. Just found a bone in my 3years old nugget

  7. Today my 6 year old had chicken nuggets from McDonald's. He was eating and just went to hollering ma its a bone in my nugget. I thought he eas playing till he brought it to me. What should I do.

  8. From Georgia, the same instance happened to my 2 year old yesterday. the bone was half of the nugget that God she is still here with us this could have easily killed such a young child! Something has to be done about these bones in the nuggets