When you’re shopping for chicken breasts or cutlets at the grocery store, you may come across some packages wherein the chicken has a white stripe running through the meat. Just what is that white stripe, and what does it mean to the quality of the poultry? We checked in with the experts.
This white striping is safe to consume, but according to AOL Lifestyle, the presence of this striping in meat can indicate that the chickens were forced to grow up too fast (literally).
In the chart above, chicken breast A is normal. There is little or no white striping. Breast B has moderate striping and breast C has heavy striping. According to Oxford Academic, the presence of white stripes indicates a much higher fat content (up to 224% more than a breast without white striping) and tougher meat.
A report from Oxford Academic shows that the growth rate of chickens has increased by 400 percent since 1957. The report indicates that this increase is largely based on genetics (like selective breeding), although some of the growth is likely attributed to the introduction of hormones.
Thrillist alleges that chicken farmers subject their chickens to hormones and genetic enhancements which force chickens to grow at an unhealthy rate, causing muscle dysfunction.
The meat is okay to eat, but those concerned about the treatment of animals raised for consumption may want to check their meat a little more closely the next time they go grocery shopping.
Businesses like Chipotle and Panera have jumped on the chicken wagon and promised to purchase their meat from slower-growing farms.