HAVE you ever taken a gander at a piece of raw chicken and clocked thin white lines running through it?
Most people who regularly eat the meat may have noticed pale stripes cropping up in raw cuts of chicken breasts without really knowing what they are.
The truth is that those white lines are actually strips of fat running through the breast fillet, which appear as a result of the way chickens are farmed.
A natural fillet is really only supposed to have fat running along the sides, rather than through the middle of the meat.
But fatty stripes in the centre of a cut mean that the chicken you’re about to eat had a muscular disorder while it was alive, according to CompassionUSA.
The animal rights group claims that sky-high demand for chicken has forced farmers to breed bigger, fatter birds, and farm them in increasingly cramped conditions.
Because of their weight, these hefty chooks are at a greater risk of developing muscle conditions, like the ones which result in white striping.
While this striped meat is still absolutely fine to eat, the meat can be a bit tougher and less flavoursome than cuts from healthier chickens.
What’s more, the extra fat reserves can mean that intensively farmed chickens aren’t as lean as regular birds.
A 2016 study by the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University found that white striping is becoming more common. After testing 285 chickens, the researchers recorded white striping in 96 per cent of birds.
However, it is worth noting that Australian farmers often abide by different, stricter standards compared to farms in the US.
Responding to the claims, a spokesperson for the US National Chicken Council said white striping affects only a “small percentage” of chicken meat, adding white striping “does not create any health or food safety concerns for people and the welfare of the chicken itself is not negatively impacted”.