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White Striping in Chicken Meat: What It Is and What You Need to Know

white striping in chicken meat

Chicken farming, without a doubt, has become a growing industry. But for most companies to maximize their profits, they have made their chickens grow in unnatural ways until it resulted in white striping in chicken meat.

Broiler chickens are known to be raised for their white chicken meat. Unfortunately, some chicken producers don’t exactly follow the rules when it comes to raising these white chicken breeds.

The life of a broiler chicken is simply short and painful. They wake up to an air-filled with ammonia, and these birds are later sent to the slaughterhouse as early as four to six weeks of age.

This broiler-type has more than the average chicken breast white meat because they were the result of two large white chicken breeds.

With this said, they’d make an excellent option for the best supermarket free-range chicken.

In this article, you will learn about white striping in chicken meat and what you need to know about it. You will also know whether this condition is fatal among chickens and harmful to people.

White striping in chicken meat is a common condition that is often left unnoticed by consumers.

Without knowing the effects of this fatty stripping, they might end up getting more of the white chicken meat for less value.

What is White Striping in Chicken Meat?

Chicken fat content is shown in visible white lines. White striping in chicken meat is easy to spot, especially when you’re doing your grocery in a quality supermarket.

Fat in the chicken breast would appear as white stripes and the chicken breast white meat would have a wood-like texture.

This muscle stripping indicates that the bird went through abnormal, excessive growth.

Scientists believe that white striping in chicken meat is a muscle disease, also called myopathy. Unlike common illnesses among chickens like bird flu, white striping is not contagious to other birds or humans.

Their rapid growth is more than their muscle fibers can handle, which explains why the stripes look more like stretch marks.

Since this is considered a disease, fewer people would choose unhealthy white chicken meat with stripes.

According to the National Chicken Council (NCC), fatty stripping is a “quality factor” in an all-white meat chicken. When there is white striping, it usually indicates low-quality chicken breast fat.

White striping in chicken meat is said to not only have lower protein levels but also perform poorly in cooking.

There was even a study that found that a white striping chicken holds less marinade and loses mass while cooking.

ALSO READ: Best Meat Chicken Breeds

Causes of Muscle Stripping in White Chicken Meat

Commercial chicken farming utilizes conventional breeds that are specifically bred to grow larger and faster.

The largest, fastest-growing white chicken breeds were bred with the same kind, producing these birds with a massive growth rate.

Back then, the average chicken has a market weight of 2.5 pounds at 112 days old. Today, chickens reach about 6.41 pounds while they are still 47 days old.

White striping in chicken meat happens even when they’re still chicks. At around 6 weeks old, these fast-growing chickens have noticeable muscle stripping on their breast.

The chickens’ bodies can’t keep up with the unnatural, rapid pace of growth. Their muscles grow faster and larger which is more than their bodies can carry.

Being unable to pump enough blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body, the muscles become inflamed. Fat and collagen attempt to repair the damaged muscles, producing the white stripes.

What is White Meat Chicken and Why It’s Important?

All-white meat chicken is known to be the healthiest among all other meat types. It’s lean, mildly flavored, and easily cooked.

Chicken breast white meat is the most popular cut that has fewer calories compared to dark meat. Still, an all-white-meat chicken has more protein and it contains vitamins B, B-3, and B-6.

White chicken is known to have muscle fibers that help convert carbohydrates into energy. As for dark meat, it is fueled by fat and helps this compound convert into energy.

On the contrary, white striping in chicken meat proves to put all these benefits to a lesser value.

Since this fatty stripping means higher chicken fat content, consumers won’t be getting the appropriate amount of protein meant from a chicken breast white meat.

If you are looking for lean white meat with the right amount of protein, choose those with less muscle stripping.

However, this condition might be unavoidable among the chicken meat section in quality supermarkets, but you can always request stripe-less white chicken meat from the vendor.

What are White Chicken Breeds that Striping is Common For?

There are plenty of breeds known for their white chicken meat. They are quite popular when it comes to chicken farming and they are primarily raised for meat.

Here are some of the white chicken breeds, to name a few:

Chicken companies would prefer to raise those extremely fast-growing breeds which are the Cobb 500 and the Ross 308.

They tend to balloon up as large as double their size at a very minimal yet painfully short time.

white striping in all white meat chicken

Does White Striping in Chicken Change their Nutritional Value

The white stripes only signify that there is fatty stripping in replacement of the damaged muscles due to the rapid growth. This means that the white chicken meat has more fat content.

Consumers choose chicken breast white meat for being lean and healthy.

More white striping in chicken meat signifies that the chicken didn’t go through the natural process of growth and it now has that added fat.

There was even a study from the Univerity of Bologna that show chicken breast fat rose to 224% more with protein down to 9% less among chicken meat with moderate to severe white striping.

To put it simply, the more white striping in chicken meat, the less nutritional value it has. However, this does not mean that white chicken meat is dangerous to consume.

Is White Chicken Meat with Striping Dangerous to Eat?

Choosing and eating white striping in chicken meat is not dangerous. However, it poses lower nutrient levels and protein compared to white chicken meat with no stripes.

As mentioned, these white lines are fatty stripping that replaced the damaged tissues which are commonly seen as chicken breast fat.

Chicken meat with severe white stripes only means there is higher chicken fat content.

Hence, it’s less healthy to choose white striping chicken. Aside from their higher level of fat in chicken, they are less capable of holding flavor while cooking.

chicken breast white meat quality supermarket

Have Chickens with Fatty Stripping Suffered?

Chickens that experience muscle stripping goes through abnormal growth and are seen to be in pain and discomfort while growing.

Myopathy has not shown any direct symptoms to chickens, except for the distinct fatty stripping on their chicken breast.

However, chickens with fatty stripping and excessively large mass are observed to be struggling. They are less active and have issues with mobility.

White striping chicken may not hurt the bird itself, but the way these poultry have been raised might have.

Their rapid growth is linked with several diseases in the muscles, heart, pulmonary, and legs.

When the chickens get too weak or too ill, they are sent to the slaughterhouse early. In other cases, this rapid growth has caused deformities that hinder these birds from functioning well.

Hence breeders are led to slaughter chickens prematurely to end their suffering.

Some of the broilers experience abdominal swelling and even sudden death syndrome, for severe cases.

Such treatment of these chickens poses a major problem in the animal welfare department.

What To Do About White Striping in Chicken Meat

Seeing white striping in chicken meat has been a common sight, even in quality supermarkets. So, the choice is up to you.

Chicken farms and producers have the power to put an end to the muscle stripping in chickens. But while this is a long shot to go, you can always choose white chicken meat with less to no fatty stripping.

Knowing that these have less nutritional value, you can always ask for a chicken breast white meat with no white striping at all.

And if you want to create a bigger impact, you can join other advocates focused on fighting for the welfare and treatment of broiler chickens.

best supermarket free range chicken with fatty stripping

Do “Organic” Chickens Have White Striping?

Are you one of the people who look into labels on packages and search for the word “organic”? Well, white meat chicken has that too!

So, are organic chickens free from muscle stripping? The organic label assures consumers that the animal welfare standards were met and products were processed in the most natural way possible.

However, the “organic” label does not guarantee that the white chicken meat came from a healthy bird. Organic standards avoid using antibiotics and other harmful substances when raising chickens.

It doesn’t exactly stop companies from breeding large chickens for faster growth.

Both organic and non-organic meat may have come from companies that practice unnatural, rapid growth of chickens. Hence, white meat chicken remains to have white striping regardless of the organic label.

ALSO READ: How to Raise Organic Meat Chickens

How Common is White Striping in Chicken Breast Fat

White chicken meat is one of the most popular meats and leading sources of protein in the United States.

Because of such demands, the poultry industry has raised fast-growing birds, which led to the majority of chicken meat having white striping.

According to a 2021 study sponsored by the US Poultry & Egg Association, white striping in chicken meat has occurred about 90% among chickens with the age of 4 to 6 weeks old.

This situation is considered a “high incidence” disease for several years now.

Severe white striping in chicken meat is very common and hidden through further processing.

The chicken industry is said to hide the worst form of fatty stripping in processed products like chicken nuggets.

quality supermarket for white meat chicken

What Are Chicken Producers Doing About White Striping in Chicken Meat

While companies have continued their practice of rapid chicken growth, other chicken producers are finding ways to lessen the white striping in chicken meat.

Researchers are working with different feeds and breeding techniques to ensure these birds grow healthily while getting enough white chicken meat for profit.

To further ensure the quality of chicken breast white meat, authorities in the poultry industry have asked employees to inspect every piece of meat for quality issues.

If there is severe white striping in chicken meat, that ration is put off.

White Striping in Chicken Meat Our Final Thoughts

A quality supermarket most likely has the best all-white meat chicken. However, this does not mean that there is no white striping in chicken meat.

White chicken meat is a good source of protein. Seeing fatty stripping only shows that the chicken underwent a rapid, unnatural pace of growth.

The muscle stripping signifies that there is a high chicken breast fat compared to meat that doesn’t have these white lines.

Consequently, there is less nutritional value on chicken meat with fatty stripping.

Another downside of white striping in chicken meat is that they are not ideal for cooking. They don’t hold the marinade too well, and they easily burn out when cooking.

You might be looking at the organic label for an all-white meat chicken with quality nutrients. However, that is not always the case.

The fat present in the white stripes is prevalent even in white meat chicken with an organic label.

Chicken fat content should only be minimal when it comes to the breast area, so it’s best to handpick these parts when you’re out on a grocery.

The good news about this condition is that authorities are trying to lessen white striping in chicken meat. If you want to ensure healthy white chicken meat, best to avoid white striping chicken.

READ NEXT: Best Chickens for Eggs and Meat: Dual Purpose Chickens


White Striping in Chicken Meat

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