Rubber used to make chicken nuggets? Viral video based on false narrative
Video actually shows the process of manufacturing rubber bands
Claim: A video shows the process of making chicken nuggets, indicating that rubber is one of the key ingredients in the said fast food.
Fact: The video shows the process of manufacturing rubber bands. It is unrelated to chicken nuggets.
The clip — which has gained over 10 million views — is captioned as follows:
“So you say you feed your kids chicken nuggets and you yourself think they are pretty tasty even though you know deep down inside that they are not good for either of you but you still continue to eat them and even worse give them to your children because of the fast food convenience or cooking them in a microwave which is even worse. Let me ask… Is it worth your Health and your Childrens to eat this crap?“
This is not the first time that this Facebook user — who has over 12,000 followers — has published a fast food- or health-related post on Facebook.
On 19 January 2012, Saxelby had posted (archive) a link to an article (archive) titled “Can You Guess What McDonald’s Food Item This Is?”, implying that fast-food chain McDonald’s was using the so-called “pink slime” in its burgers. They wrote:
“OK PEOPLE need I say anymore why you should not be feeding your kids this CRAP!!! or yourself… YUCK!“
Saxelby’s post was shared almost a dozen times.
Fact or Fiction?
In the later part of the video, the process comes to an end and shows rubber bands being packed into boxes for sale. The brand seen in it is O’Band Rubber Bands, so we used the search term “oband rubber band process” on Google and came across this YouTube video (archive) from 20 July 2023.
Posted by the verified YouTube channel Process X, the caption starts as follows:
“Established in 1923, Kyowa Co., Ltd. is a rubber band manufacturing company with a history of over 100 years. Today, we will show you the process of making rubber bands.”
The video is titled “輪ゴムを大量生産するプロセス。創業100周年を迎える日本のゴムバンド製造工場 [The process of mass producing rubber bands. The Japanese rubber band manufacturing factory celebrates its 100th anniversary].”
It identifies the company as 株式会社共和, or Kyowa Co., Ltd., and provides a link to its location, which leads to 共和 泉佐野工場, meaning Kyowa Izumisano Factory; Izumisano is a city in Japan.
Thus, the claim that the video in question shows the process of making chicken nuggets is false.
The ‘pink slime’ controversy
As for Saxelby’s 2012 post about the so-called “pink slime” being used in McDonald’s, that, too, has been debunked several times.
Pink slime was used “for a number of years prior to 2011”, according to a 2011 statement (archive) issued by McDonald’s USA cited by The Associated Press (AP) in a fact-check dated 11 August 2022. The chain decided “to stop using lean beef trimmings treated with ammonia”, and the ingredient “has been out of the McDonald’s USA supply chain since last August”, the statement added.
The term pink slime — which is also referred to as select lean beef trimmings (SLBT), lean finely textured beef (LFTB), boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT), ammoniated beef or ammonia-processed beef, and meat filler — originated from a 2002 agency email sent by former US Department of Agriculture (USDA) microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein.
According to Snopes, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA say the chemical process is “generally recognized as safe” as meat and poultry that have been properly treated with ammonium hydroxide are acceptable for human consumption.
In addition to pink slime, there is also mechanically-separated meat (MSM) and mechanically-separated poultry (MSP), both of which refer to products created by automated mechanical procedures to ensure all edible meat tissue is recovered. MSM is more commonly used in cheaper meat offerings, such as chicken nuggets. MSP, it says, is “safe to eat and may be used without restriction”, according to the USDA’s guidelines.
According to Full Fact, MSM “is obtained by forcing raw bones with attached edible meat, under pressure, through a sieve to remove bones”.
In its fact check, the AP said McDonald’s confirmed “it does not use lean, finely-textured beef at any of its global locations and hasn’t since 2011”.
Australia’s AAP FactCheck wrote in November 2020, “Ammonium hydroxide is not listed as an approved food additive in either Australia or New Zealand.”
It is important to note that pink slime (SLBT, LFTB, BLBT, ammoniated beef, or ammonia-processed beef) is not the same as MSM or MSP, Snopes clarified in January 2012.
McDonald’s has so far issued multiple statements and even produced videos to debunk the claim; these are available below:
- 1 February 2012
- 1 February 2013
- 1 February 2014
- 13 October 2014
- 28 September 2015
- 21 May 2018
- 1 March 2021
- 4 March 2021 (two statements, available here and here)
The Burgers page on McDonald’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section also addresses the “pink slime” claim.
It was also posted (archive) — and later deleted — on the social media platform X, formerly called Twitter, by David “Avocado” Wolfe, a self-styled health guru whose claims have been debunked by multiple fact-checking outlets.
Wolfe captioned his post as “You’ll Never Eat Chicken Nuggets Again.”
Conclusion: The video shows the process of manufacturing rubber bands. It is unrelated to chicken nuggets.
Background image in cover photo: Fernando Andrade
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