What are those white stripes on my Chicken?
Growing up, I remember those shiny, beautiful, beige breasts...of chicken, that is!! They were succulent, moist and the most trusted food on the planet. So what happened? My chicken has these weird white streaks that look different depending on my chicken supplier… What are they? What’s going on here?
"White striping" is a muscular disorder. A WHAT? This is a disorder that involves fat growing inside the muscle tissue, not just on the outside as usual. With this being the case, it means less protein and lower quality of meat. The striping is classified in three categories; normal, moderate and severe.
WAIT! I thought chicken was the best and healthiest option?
Well…to us consumers, this is quite troubling…but in actuality, it’s a worse problem for the chickens. Sadly, they suffer from pain most of their lives due to this disorder which is like muscular dystrophy in humans.
Compassion in World Farming has done stories and videos on the subject. They report that the white striping, as well as another muscle disorder, “woody breast”, are both linked to the chicken’s genetics. Birds are grown too quickly and too big and they can’t handle this stress on their bodies. Their requirement of more oxygen and nutrition, along with the terrible conditions they live in, are the reasons they present these abnormalities.
Think twice folks!
For you the consumer, they may think this won’t have any impact. However, if you’re choosing chicken as an alternative to higher fat meats, you’re not necessarily getting what you think. You’re getting up to 224% more fat.
So what's being done?
Chickens need to grow slower. Unfortunately, it will take companies many years to produce slower-growing breeds. But at least that commitment is on the horizon. When buying chicken now, try to look for “heritage” breeds or for labels that state “slower growing”. Animal rights groups are doing their part with trying to make this happen. They are putting pressure on the largest suppliers of chicken to make changes. Also, Whole Foods Market, a huge advocate of sustainability and animal welfare, is taking major steps in this arena and are committed to making a change. They stated back in 2016, that it will probably take them at least 8 years for all of their suppliers to have their chickens be heritage and slower-growing breeds.
Read more at Compassion in World Farming