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Questions and Answers About Mechanically Separated Poultry


What is mechanically separated poultry?

Mechanically separated poultry is a product made by removing meat from chicken or turkey bones by using screens and filters to remove the bones and bone chips and keep the meat.

Mechanically separated poultry has been used in poultry products since 1969.  It is used primarily as an ingredient in franks, lunch meat or other processed products.  It is NOT typically used in chicken nuggets or patties, and it is not sold directly to consumers.

If mechanically separated poultry is used in any food product, it must be listed among the ingredients as “mechanically separated poultry, “mechanically separated chicken,” or “mechanically separated turkey,” depending on the source.


Is it safe and nutritious?

Yes.  MSP is safe and nutritious.  MSP’s nutrition profile can contain slightly higher levels of calcium and phosphorous – both essential nutrients – than poultry meat removed from bones by hand.  However, it remains an excellent source of nutrition.  Key facts about any product made with MSP are stated on the nutrition label.


Is it regulated? 

Yes.  Like all meat and poultry products, mechanically separated poultry is regulated and inspected by USDA.  Products containing MSP must declare it as an ingredient.  Consumers can find more information at


Are there other benefits to using MSP?

Yes.  Mechanical systems prevent waste of nutritious meat and avoid the repetitive motion that would be required to perform close trimming by hand. .

Using mechanical systems like the ones that produce MSP are part of industry sustainability efforts.  Not only do these systems protect workers, they also help prevent waste and control costs, which, in turn, benefits consumers by providing wholesome and affordable products that are regulated, inspected and labeled appropriately.  


What is your reaction to the recent on-line attention to MSP?

 It is unfortunate that photos and on line postings are distorting the facts in an effort to alarm consumers about poultry products that contain MSP.  In these challenging economic times, mechanical systems help produce wholesome and affordable meat and poultry product that are regulated and inspected by the federal government and labeled according to federal law.  

The use of MSP as an ingredient is neither new nor something that should cause concern. Rather, consumers can feel confident that U.S. meat and poultry is among the safest in the world and that our clear labels help consumers select the products that they prefer and that suit their family budgets.


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