Public-School Chicken Nuggets Way Grosser Than Anyone Imagined

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Mystery meat indeed. Photo: Tom Grill/Corbis

Chicago writer Monica Eng, who's investigated that city's public-school system's lunch program for some time, recently filed a FOIA request in order to obtain a detailed ingredient list of the offerings, which was met with a hilariously terse response. She's now received a more comprehensive report: It turns out those food-service chicken nuggets contain at least 28 ingredients — including soy protein and maltodextrin — a figure that doesn't even take the "breading" into account. In fact, all of the selections billed as "chicken," which Eng has taken to calling "food-like nubbins," are composed of "dozens of ingredients." Alice Waters, however, as usual isn't surprised by the broader, thoroughly dismal state of the school-food business. “The schools have really been hijacked by the companies who are benefitting when children are fed and digest the values of fast food,” she says. [NPR, WBEZ, Related]