Recently, a video was published to the Internet by the company known as Compassion in World Farming. This company has forewarned us meat-lovers that we should stop eating chicken breasts that contain white stripes.
The condition known as “white striping” affects the muscle in chicken breasts; It’s actually a disorder that’s become more prevalent throughout the years. According to a specific study done in 2013, the condition known as white striping increases the fat intake in chicken breasts to 224% while additionally lowering the overall protein intake of the meat. Another research study done that same year concluded almost the same thing: White striping increases fat within the muscle and decreases protein within the muscle of the breasts.
Now that I’ve told you the technical information you need to know, I’m going to transition my voice over to one that is a little bit more ‘approachable.’
So, all in all, white striping is not something you want to see when you’re purchasing chicken for the week at your local market. However, if you’ve taken a look recently, you’ve probably noticed that white striping is happening a lot more often than it used to, right? Personally, I know that when I go shopping for chicken, I don’t notice it. On the other hand, when I come home and open the package of chicken and start to cook, I totally notice it. The white striping effect is right there, in plain sight, for us (me) to see.
If you didn’t already know by the small description I’ve laid out for you above, white striping is very easy to spot. Usually, when chicken breasts have these sorts of white striations running parallel to the regular muscle is when they have the disorder known as white striping. And, according to a study done in 2016 regarding the matter, white striping has increased in chicken breasts dramatically over the years. Results of this study stated that a whopping 96% of the birds that were tested for this disorder were found with positive white striping results. That means that out of the 285 birds they tested, 256 of them had the disorder.
In addition to increasing fat intake and decreasing protein intake, white striping negatively impacts the meat quality all in all. For example, white striping affects marinade intake and it cooks in a less efficient manner.
As for why this white striping is happening, scientists think they’ve come to a simple conclusion: Supply and demand is at an all-time high for chicken. Let me explain this process.
On average, Americans eat approximately 90 lbs. of chicken per year. For some people, that’s more than half of their weight. What’s worse is that that approximate number keeps going up, according to recent years and recent studies.
As far as the farmer’s lives go, chicken happens to be one of the cheapest proteins they can produce. Because of this, the general protein market encourages all farmer’s to produce mass amounts of the meat, in turn recommending the option for larger chickens to be raised. The problem with this is that the market is in such a huge supply and demand era that they have to request farmer’s raise these chickens in half the time yet with double the meat. In trying to over feed chickens and expedite their growth rate, white stripping tends to be the end result.
Allow me to explain with valid proof: In the 1950’s, chickens averaged at a weight of about 3 lbs after being fed and raised for approximately 70 days. However, as of the year 2015, the average weight of a chicken easily doubled to 6 ½ lbs after being fed and raised for approximately 47 days.
After all of the uprise and panic in the market, one spokesman for the National Chicken Council came forward to address the topic. According to him, white striping affects a small percentage of the chickens being raised today. And, out of all the chicken meat it does affect, the spokesman confidently stated no danger comes to those who consume it. As of now, white striping does not create any serious health problems or food safety concerns for those that eat the meat, according to the National Chicken Council.
In addition to the spokesman for the National Chicken Council, Jaclyn London, R.D., Nutritional Director over at the Good Housekeeping Institute firmly agrees and stands by the fact that white striping does not negatively impact our health in any way, shape, or form. In fact, London states that chicken is still one of the healthiest proteins on the market today.
In addition, London states that so long as the chicken is not breaded or deep-fried, it is a great source of lean protein for the body. Chicken that is not breaded or deep-fried contains a variety of B vitamins, including vitamin B12, and iron. However, London does state that the best lean chicken protein would be packages that contain labels with the sticker ‘No Antibiotics Ever.’
Other than those simple bits of advice, London also advises everyone to properly cook chicken at all times. Chicken should be stored at the correct temperature(s) in either the refrigerator or the freezer. Lastly, while the chicken is being meal prepped, London warns us to be careful to avoid cross-contamination at all costs.
Well, I know this article was a little fact-based, but I had to warn you of the issue. Though white striping is not a harm to us chicken lovers, it may not be the best thing for us to consume. And though rumors are overdramatic regarding the matter, it doesn’t mean we have to avoid chicken with white striping entirely. Heed London’s last bits of advice and choose your chicken wisely, and I’m sure you’ll be okay.
By Jenny Lyn