Posted September 9, 2010
What kid doesn’t love McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets? The white meat chunks are tasty and perfect for little mouths and hands. And while most parents are aware that McNuggets aren’t perfectly healthy, they probably don’t know exactly what goes into making them.
CNN has revealed that the fast-food chain makes this popular menu item with the chemical preservative tBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleum-based product. Mcnuggets also contain dimethylpolysiloxane, “an anti-foaming agent” also used in Silly Putty.
Across the Atlantic in Britain, McNuggets don’t contain these chemicals and they’re less fattening.
McDonald’s says the differences are based on the local tastes: In the United States, McNuggets are coated and then cooked, in the United Kingdom, they are cooked and then coated. As a result, the British McNuggets absorb less oil and have less fat.
Dimethylpolysiloxane is used as a matter of safety to keep the oil from foaming, [Lisa McComb, who handles global media relations for McDonald’s,] says. The chemical is a form of silicone also used in cosmetics and Silly Putty. A review of animal studies by The World Health Organization found no adverse health effects associated with dimethylpolysiloxane.
TBHQ is a preservative for vegetable oils and animal fats, limited to .02 percent of the oil in the nugget. One gram (one-thirtieth of an ounce) can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse,” according to “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives.”
Does this mean that you should keep your kids away from McNuggets altogether?
Marion Nestle, a New York University professor and author of “What to Eat,” told CNN that the tertiary butylhydroquinone and dimethylpolysiloxane in the McNuggets probably pose no health risks. But she added that as a general rule parents shouldn’t feed their children foods with an ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Try pronouncing dimethylpolysiloxane…it’s not easy.
Do you like McNuggets? Do you feed them to your kids? Does it even surprise you that McNuggets contain a chemical that’s also used in “Silly Putt”?