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Chicken nuggets are delicious things as long as you don't have to think about what parts of the chicken they actually are made from. The Journal of American Medicine looked into that question, leading Reuters to produce three sentences that might make you never want another chicken nugget again.

Here's what doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center found after studying two different nuggets from two different fast food chains in Jackson, Miss.:

The first nugget was about half muscle, with the rest a mix of fat, blood vessels and nerves. Close inspection revealed cells that line the skin and internal organs of the bird, the authors write in the American Journal of Medicine.

The second nugget was only 40 percent muscle, and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone.

Now we've all seen that slime picture, and read the horror stories, and deep down we know that chicken meat comes in more shapes than circles and boots. But nothing is more disturbing than knowing that half of a white-meat chicken nugget is actually just a Frankenstein mix of pulverized avian bone, nerves, and internal organs. 

The only quasi-solace to this revelation is the words of the chicken lobby. "This study evaluates only two chicken nugget samples out of the billions of chicken nuggets that are made every year. A sample size of two nuggets is simply too small to generalize to an entire category of food, "Ashley Peterson, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Chicken Council (NCC), told Reuters. But Peterson's rebuttal doesn't necessarily mean that those billions of chicken nuggets are nerve- and organ-free. Whatever we said about those wings, we take it back. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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