Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth with eating meat. I’ve been a vegetarian, a vegan, a flexitarian, a no porker, a beefer only 4 times a month, and a skinless chicken breast eater 3 times a week.
Recently, I’ve had to revisit my eating options. I make weekly trips to my neighborhood grocery store. Lately, I’ve noticed the chicken section is nearly bare. So, when I saw it full, I went over to get myself a family pack of skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I’m the type that inspects my raw meat peeking through the packaging. I choose one, purchase it, and take it home.
A Disturbing Realization
When I get home, I get out my trusty quart freezer bags to store my chicken breasts individually in the freezer. I do this because I only have to cook for myself. However, when I open the packaging and pick up one of the chicken breasts, I’m instantly horrified by the white stripes covering it. I didn’t recall seeing this in the store. I’m so sure that I would’ve left the package in the store. They must’ve carefully placed the breasts in the packaging to conceal the hideousness.
This particular piece of meat was an abnormally large size and quite intimidating. I put it in a bag. When I get to the next one, it looks a little darker and battered. However, I put it in a bag. After putting all six breasts in bags, I can’t take my eyes off of three that just didn’t look right. Nevertheless, I put them in the freezer.
Now my mind is in overdrive with images of the meat. Of course, I had to do a Google search to see if it was safe to eat the meat. Why did I do that? Words like white striping and woody came up. Not to mention, abnormal muscle conditions and disease in the muscles of chickens. At this point, my love of chicken breasts rapidly decreases.
White Striping on Chicken Breasts
A disturbing article from the Human League mentions that these white stripes are from a disease common among chickens raised for meat. They’re pockets of fat and collagen in the muscles that show up on fast-bred birds. This made me think about that one abnormally large chicken breast with the striping that I put in the bag. It makes sense that something like this occurs. It’s like the chickens are on steroids.
Despite the National Chicken Council disputing the article from the Human League and stating that the white-striped chicken isn’t sold in retail stores, I know for a fact that it is.
According to the National Chicken Council, woody chicken breasts are caused by a muscle condition that makes the meat pale and hard when you touch them. The poultry industry is funding research to determine the cause and remediation of this condition. In the meantime, it’s seen more as a quality issue than a threat to human consumption.
The Jury is Out
As far as I’m concerned, I won’t be eating any chicken breasts that don’t look right. Therefore, I threw away those chicken breasts. Their appearance was enough to convince me that something wasn’t right with those poor chickens.
This topic made me think of a few chicken breasts that I baked in the oven a while back that were hard to chew. I thought maybe I did something wrong with the temperature or cooking timeframe. However, maybe they were from the bodies of mistreated chickens. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.
Will I give up eating chicken? I’m on the fence with that one. I still have some frozen chicken breasts in the freezer. I know they don’t have that awful-looking white striping that was on the ones I recently purchased. They’re a great addition to a meal. However, I’m desperately trying to get the images of oversized chicken breeding out of my head and eating the meat of a once-live animal.