Posted by: laughs4dads | September 20, 2010

Chicken McPutty

My daughter, Casey, was never a big fan of fast food. She didn’t like burgers, and even when she got a chicken kid’s meal because she liked the toy that week, she’d take about an hour to disassemble the nuggets looking for gristle. In the end, it looked as though some crows had been picking through road kill when they, themselves, got run over, leaving behind a red blobby mass. That would be the mound of ketchup into which Casey had dipped her fries.

It turns out Casey had good instincts when it came to not eating the chicken. In a June 29th post on Slashfood, Jason Best cites a CNN investigation that reveals that Chicken McNuggets contain dimethylpolysiloxane, a chemical that is also used in making Silly Putty®, that bouncy, stretchy stuff we played with as kids.

That might also explain why Casey was never very athletic.

I’m not sure what’s more upsetting about this news, the fact that McDonalds uses in its food a substance that also helps create a toy that can pick the ink off newspapers, or its reason for doing so. You see, dimethylpolysiloxane happens to be an “anti-foaming agent.”

Is it preventing diners from foaming at the mouth, or is it preventing the McNuggets themselves from turning into a fizzling heap of bubbles, like when you drop Mentos into Diet Coke? Well, it turns out that its primary function in the making of McNuggets is to prevent the frying oil from breaking down. I do not know what its function is when used in the manufacture of Silly Putty. Or caulking. That is correct. Your kids are eating an ingredient that is also used in the substance that seals off your bathtub.

You probably thought dimethylpolysiloxane was some sort of preservative, right? Hah! Shows what you know. That would be the tertiary butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), which is also an additive in lacquers and varnishes. That’s right: I said “varnishes,” not “garnishes.”

I guess I now also know why Casey is neither shiny nor waterproof.

(By the way, the abbreviation for tertiary butylhydroquinone, tBHQ, is not to be confused with TCBY®, the delicious frozen treat that contains locust bean gum, which appears to be a perfectly fine food additive, but which sounds disgusting. Locust bean gum is, apparently, a “galactomannan vegetable gum,” which can only mean that it is actually an alien race that is slowly infiltrating our society from our insides through our intake of frozen yogurt.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way saying that you shouldn’t allow your kids to eat at McDonalds or its competitors. Mickey Dees is hardly the only fast food chain that uses this stuff. Why, if we stopped eating everything that had chemicals like these in it, we’d be…um…I don’t know…less stretchy?

And anyway, letting your children ingest a bit of polymeric organosilicon compound is a small price to pay for the acquisition of a Happy Meal toy, which can be quite the collector’s item. One of Casey’s friend’s fathers collected them. He had hundreds of them, all Mint-in-Bag, of course. And many of them are now worth as much as ninety-nine cents on eBay!

Plus, you should see how high his daughter can bounce!



  1. 1. Never analyze Starbucks.
    2. Happy Meals toys still in bags… Yea, his daughter bounces all right… 😉

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