Certified Question Answered – Chicken Nugget X-Ray Machines Are A Thing

We recently ran a post on a Chicago man’s lawsuit against McDonald’s, which alleged, among other things, that McDonald’s failed to test a chicken nugget for bone shards before serving the chicken nugget to him.  Therein, we asked the following tough questions:

How does one test a chicken nugget for bone shards before serving it to the customer? Is McDonald’s supposed to use the x-ray machine that TSA uses at the airport? Is there a chicken nugget bone shard test kit that we don’t know about?

We received a response from an unusual source. According to The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, there is actually a chicken nugget x-ray machine:

‘There’s very accurate X-ray detection technology to detect bones in chicken products,’ says Rich Cisek the chief operating officer of InspX Corp. a California-based manufacturer of X-ray inspection machines for the food and beverage industry.

Mr. Cisek told Law Blog that so-called ‘top-down’ X-ray machines, which collect images of food products zooming by on a conveyor, are well-suited for nugget inspections.

We stand corrected (and appreciate the author of that piece citing our original blog post on the topic).

That said, we here at Abnormal Use would like to ask a follow up question.  In a time when jobs are difficult to find, should we replace potential American food testing jobs with automation?  Reportedly, while “[e]mploying food tasters . . . may seem like an anachronism in the 21st century, . . . the profession has enjoyed a recent resurgence.” As noted by a recent New York Times article on the extravagant food testing expenditures for which the current president of Turkey is responsible, “[n]early every world leader . . . takes precautions in the matter of food safety . . . .”  The article goes on to say that the current president of Turkey employs ” five on-site experts . . . on duty for 14 hours a day, analyzing the president’s meals for suspicious substances . . . .”

If we seek to impose a duty on fast food chains to inspect their food before serving it to customers, shouldn’t we create some jobs in the process?  Our fear is that chicken nugget x-ray machines could lead to the extinction of a workforce of food tasters who have perfected the craft for centuries.  The point is, should we, just because we can?


  1. James Pulley says:

    The perfect application for the xray machines is at the source of creation of the nugget, either just after flash freezing or just before. This way any nugget containing a foreign substance can be pulled from the line and McDonalds can show due diligence for all stores by treating the issue at it’s source, rather than having to take the expense and training charge to install in every store