Raw chicken meat is normally pink, but you may have noticed some white stripes on your chicken breasts. If so, you’ve probably wondered if these stripes were normal. A study from the University of Bologna suggests that these white lines might mean something far more serious than we realize.
We are always interested in learning about what you should and shouldn’t be eating as well as making informed decisions about food. And that’s why we’re sharing these findings with you.
A study published in the Italian Journal of Animal Science found that pieces of meat with stripes were fattier than normal, often exceeding normal fat content by 224%. Because of this, researchers believe that the stripes are a result of new farming and breeding techniques that are used to help chickens grow faster and gain more body weight than normal. This can also be a sign of a muscle disorder often found in hybrid birds.
As the study highlighted, compared to 50 years ago, chickens and turkeys are now growing to 6 pounds in half the time that was needed before and are sold at twice their body weight. This was apparent in chickens being placed on high-energy diets which are often rich in supplemental poultry oil, an unsaturated animal fat. Many of these practices came about to fill the demand placed on poultry in recent years, with breast meat becoming especially popular in Europe and North America. Unfortunately, these practices might have lead to a muscle disorder in the birds, causing muscles to decrease as fat increased as seen on chicken breasts with white stripes.