This photo of pink paste has been spoiling appetites all over the Internet lately, and with good reason -- you are likely eating that gooey mess. It is mechanically separated meat, and it is the main ingredient of such goodies as hot dogs, bologna, salami, and some turkey and chicken products.
The web site Fooducate explains in stomach-turning detail:
Someone figured out in the 1960s that meat processors can eek out a few more percent of profit from chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows by scraping the bones 100% clean of meat. This is done by machines, not humans, by passing bones leftover after the initial cutting through a high pressure sieve. The paste you see in the picture above is the result.
The site Early Onset of Night continues the appetizing process:
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There's more: because it's crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia... Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.
But, hey, at least it tastes good, right?
High five, America!
If you want to see if you're eating this, just check the label on your packaged food. The USDA requires foods with mechanically separated poultry to be labeled as containing "mechanically separated chicken or turkey" in their ingredients. In 2004 it banned the use of mechanically separated beef, saying it "is considered inedible and is prohibited for use as human food."