What is “mystery meat?” Is it synthetic meat? Is it legally allowed to be sold in the United States?


Burger King sells 10 chicken nuggets at $1.50. While I understand this is a “loss leader,” how are they still able to produce nuggets this cheaply? Is it made of fake meat or something? Are restaurants actually allowed to serve/sell fake meat?

In: Other

No, it’s actual chicken meat. There’s other ingredients, to boost flavor and adjust the texture, but US law prohibits selling something as chicken that wasn’t originally part of a chicken.

A lot of chickens are raised in this country, and when you buy as much as a fast food chain you get a much better price per pound than any private citizen.

Chicken is very cheap. A broiler reaches maturity within six weeks and can be fed with different cheap scrap food. They have been bread to produce a lot of meat and eat very little. During their six week lifetime they eat less then twice their weight. It have really become an industry. In addition to this the chicken nuggets that is being sold is very cheap because you can not tell which part of the animal they are from. It is usually scrap pieces left over after the more desired big pieces of meat have been cut from the chicken. It is still meat from chicken but not the juicy filet that you might see in a deli.

“Mystery meat” is just a slang for stuff like Spam or chicken nuggets. And by that definition it’s legal to sell in the US. And no it isn’t synthetic meat. ([Though that is a thing now…](https://www.health.com/food/veggie-burger-beyond-burger-impossible-burger).)

All chicken nuggets are made from scraps of the stuff that isn’t pretty (so like skin, cartilage, ribs and spine). The scrap is tossed into a centrifuge-like machine that separates as much bone from meat as possible. The bones are removed, and the scraps are ground up with other bits like skins and cartilage and spices. The meat paste is shaped, breaded, then baked. It’s then generally shipped frozen to supermarkets.


They probably got a good deal on chicken meat.

For example, the McRib only hits the market when pork prices are low enough. That’s why you can’t expect it the same time every year.