Why you should stop eating chicken breasts with white stripes

The chicken we eat is a lot fattier and less nutritious than it used to be

Rachel Hosie
Wednesday 08 February 2017 18:12 GMT

Loved for its leanness, adaptability and inoffensiveness, chicken is a popular meat all over the world.

In fact, many people actively choose to eat chicken over red meat because they believe it’s healthier.

But as a result of changing practices in poultry farming, it turns out chicken is no longer as good for us as it once was.

A new video by Compassion in World Farming has been released, aiming to educate the public about ‘white striping’ in chicken.

More and more chicken breasts now have ‘white striping’ - strips of fat that appear as a result of a condition many of the birds develop in factory farms.

Truly lean chicken breast won’t have any of the white striations, but all you have to do is pop down to your local supermarket to see how common it is for what we’re sold to be covered in white stripes of fat.

The stripes come about as a result of the way the chickens are raised - they’re produced on a mass scale and farmers are doing everything then can to make the chickens bigger, quicker.

This means the chicken we eat may be a lot fattier and less nutritious than it used to be.

A study last year by the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M concluded that “the severity of white striping has increased in recent years,” and found it present in 96 per cent of the 285 birds they tested.

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What’s more, the researchers discovered that white striping “negatively impacts meat quality” and results in chicken that is less tender and absorbs marinades less easily.

A 2013 study also found that chicken breasts with the condition can contain 224 per cent more fat than normal ones.

But according to Jaclyn London, R.D., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we shouldn’t be swearing off the stuff: “Chicken - so long as it's not breaded and deep-fried - is a great source of lean protein (that also happens to be rich in B-vitamins, iron and vitamin B12),” she said.

And a spokesman for the National Chicken Council told Buzzfeed white striping actually only affects a “small percentage of chicken meat” and “does not create any health or food safety concerns for people and the welfare of the chicken itself is not negatively impacted.”

So you don’t need to stop cooking your favourite chicken stir-fries, curries and roasts just yet, but let’s hope more supermarkets and restaurants avoid factory-farmed birds.

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