I feel compelled to comment on the "Mechanically-Separated Chicken" (aka "Chicken Nuggets") story that has been making the rounds (Google search here) (weird and/or cool videos here, here, here). It turns out that the situation was a bit sensationalized. Someone did some fact-checking, rather than simply citing other blogs (ahem), and posted their findings here.
Having said that, I would like to share my own thoughts about the "Chicken Nuggets" story.
The parts of the story that disturbed me were the murky provenance of the chicken bits, the scale on which they are processed and fed to naïve Americans and others, and the "soaked in ammonia" claim. In my mind, commodity ground meats are the ultimate Meat Of Unknown Origin. Not only do you not know where they're from—you have no idea what they are.
The idea of eating entire animals, including bones, is not horrifying to me per se. If you have ever eaten sardines out of a can, you have eaten bones. Eating broken-down bones, not surprisingly, is an excellent way to get minerals. Much of the virtue of stocks and broths, including old favorites like chicken noodle soup, comes from the contribution of boiled bones. Much of the flavor in clam chowder comes from boiled shells. Gelatin comes from bones and hooves. The great traditions of sausage-making and charcuterie use all sorts of animal parts, including blood. Restaurants from Paris to Beijing, some of them quite fancy, feature brains, tongues, intestines, glands, and lots of other organs.
So, for the record:
As long as animals are of known origin, and inedible bits (gall bladders, scent glands, etc.) are removed, I am in favor of grinding up animals and eating them.
4 weeks ago