Yesterday I saw a site that claimed their fairly expensive poultry sausages are made of prime cuts (thigh, breast), rather than the usual mechanically separated meat.

Why would one prefer a prime-cut sausage over MSM, as both are ultimately going to be minced into a fine paste and made into a sausage?

  • Just a thought, the prime cuts are probably less fat content. Which actually might make the sausage taste not as good but will ultimately be healthier for health nuts.
    – Jay
    Jan 5, 2012 at 16:15
  • Whenever I see MSM labelled anywhere I think of the ingredients that go into a slim-jim. Do you really want to eat that?
    – It Grunt
    Jan 23, 2012 at 17:54

3 Answers 3


It's probably simple marketing.

People like the idea of eating 'prime' meat more than 'scraggy' meat, and tend to assume it makes for a better taste and texture (even when it might not).

This is probably the same principle behind things like high meat and low fat sausages - people buy them because they fear 'mystery meat' and anything with cheap content, even when that cheaper content is better suited - such as fat and rusk keeping sausages moist and soft.


There is great debate about MSM and how safe it is. Diseases such as Mad Cow Disease are transmitted when spinal tissue (containing the prions that cause the disease in our bodies) "leak" into the meat. Prions scare me because it is not a living organism like a bacterium or virus. It's just loose bits of protein that bond with other proteins and cause havoc. Relatively little is known about prions and how they interact with other proteins, bacteria and virii in our own bodies.

Whether prions are the agent which causes disease or merely a symptom caused by a different agent is still debated by a minority of researchers. The following sections describe several hypotheses: some pertain to the composition of the infectious agent (protein-only, protein with other components, virus, or other), while others pertain to its mechanism of reproduction.

  • The very first thing I found when looking for information about this was the Wikipedia page which mentions that the US does not consider mechanically-separated beef to be food, and that the UK has "restrictions to help ensure that pieces of the spinal cord would not be present". So it's a non-issue for beef. And beyond that... citation needed. From a quick look, I see no evidence of dangerous prion diseases from mechanically-separated pork, turkey, or chicken, as I believe is used in hot dogs. The OP is asking about poultry anyway.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 23, 2012 at 18:53
  • 1
    Footnote: I'm not sure what the current UK regulations are; those were as of 1989.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 23, 2012 at 18:58
  • That's funny... I thought that most beef in the U.S. was mechanically separated that results in the potential for spinal fluid to enter the food distribution chain. I did see that the US followed the UK's lead in banning MS beef as well in '94.
    – It Grunt
    Jan 23, 2012 at 19:03
  • The UK ban is still in place according to the MSM article on wikipedia
    – It Grunt
    Jan 23, 2012 at 19:04

Darn this sort of thing raises my hackles! MSM is metely mechanically separated meat. The reason spent hen is mechanically de-boned is because the carcuss is very slim with little meat. This is jsut because of the bird's genetics, nothing more. In other words, this breed tends to be a good deal lighter in muscle. But Granny made all her soup from spent hen, because it had a bunch more flavour. And, while it is not a roaster, it is a "fricasee chicken" which means it is both old and tough, unless one cooks it for a long time. This is a result of old ligamentous and conne4ctive tissue, wghich is very tough. But cut it fine enough for sausage and there is no problem. In fact it superior, more intense flavour is a big plus. Its all about marketing and the big guys are happy to eliminate at elast one competitor at any time. geoff

  • 3
    I find it very difficult to understand the point you're trying to make here. Could you perhaps edit it to be clearer?
    – Cascabel
    Mar 18, 2012 at 4:20

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