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Panaderia Canadiense

Odd green/brown stripe in my roasted chicken at the breast tender

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Hi folks. Slightly troubled here in paradise - I cut into what ought to have been a luscious roasted chicken breast tonight and found a greeny-browny strip in the tender. Needless to say, I didn't eat it; the photo seems to show it as browner than it really looks; there is a definite disturbing green tint there as well.

Any ideas what could have caused this? This provider of chickens is normally problem-free. This has seriously weirded me out, and now I'm really leery of the other breast that was in the package (currently in my freezer).

IMG_0097-2.jpg


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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See: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568500

And about halfway down the page, there is this:

"This phenomenon is caused by a strain or tear in the breast muscles while the chicken is still alive. The muscle starts to die before the chicken is slaughtered and there's a chemical reaction within the meat that causes the green colour to develop during cooking. The muscle damage comes from excessive wing flapping, usually from rough or inexperienced handling by humans trying to catch the chickens. There are no visible signs of this muscle damage in the raw bird - you only discover it after it's cooked.

If the chicken is properly cooked, the green meat is not a food safety risk but most people find the appearance completely, and understandibly, unappetizing. You can eat the rest of the chicken without a problem if you so choose.

I work for a group of chicken farmers in Manitoba, Canada, helping consumers with questions and concerns about chicken raised in Manitoba. I get few calls a year about green chicken. The chicken has always been purchased from a farm or farmers market, never from a grocery store or meat store. Chicken raised by our farmers is only available in stores. These birds are handled by experienced people which may explain why there isn't a problem in store-bought chickens in Manitoba.

Buying chicken directly from a farm or farmers market always has the caution "buyer beware". If you get a "green" chicken, complain to the person/place you bought it from and ask them to be more careful when they handle their birds. You may also want to take your business elsewhere.

K Armstrong RD

Manitoba Chicken Producers

Manitoba Canada"

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This is caused by Deep Pectoral Myopathy, or Green Muscle Disease--basically, necrosis. It's a direct result of the overbreeding of meat birds for oversize breasts. When the bird tries to flap its wings like a normal chicken, this condition results. Recommended management of the condition boils down to "minimizing unnecessary wing activity." I've encountered it twice, both times in grocery store chickens. Here is a very good explanation of the condition and what causes it: http://www.zootecnicainternational.com/article-archive/veterinary/63-green-muscle-disease.html

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This is disgusting. The agribiz system that we have in this country is disgusting.

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This is disgusting. The agribiz system that we have in this country is disgusting.

Did you miss the bit where it says:

" The chicken has always been purchased from a farm or farmers market, never from a grocery store or meat store."


PS: I am a guy.

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This is disgusting. The agribiz system that we have in this country is disgusting.

Did you miss the bit where it says:

" The chicken has always been purchased from a farm or farmers market, never from a grocery store or meat store."

Yea, but Big Ag created the Cornish Cross chicken. No genetic engineering that I am aware of, just artificial selection, but this particular chicken is what produces the monster chicken breasts at the grocery, and apparently the green necrotic tissue. Most hatcheries sell these birds as chicks as well, so it is also something you are likely to see at a farmer's market.

We raised a batch of Cornish Crosses once. Never again. We were used to chickens that act like chickens, mostly heritage breeds that were dual purpose (meat and eggs). They go outside to look for and consume bugs, they scratch, they spend much of their day outdoors, and come back in the barn at night. We give them some chicken feed, but they also got a big part of their diet from their environment. We usually got "straight run" or unsexed chicks, and raised the hens to provide eggs and the roosters for meat.

Then we bought a batch of 25 Cornish Crosses for meat. Within a week they were double the size of their counterparts. Once they were old enough to be outside, they pretty much parked themselves next to the food bowl and did not move. They had no inclination to go outside and peck and forage. They sat. They ate. They crapped. They slept. All in the same place. Since they left all their crap in about 1 square foot, they also stunk, big time. I cannot imagine what a chicken house full of these things smell like, we were used to chickens that poop outside a lot, and therefore did not smell much at all. The Cornish Crosses also had an alarmingly high mortality rate.

Life got in the way and we didn't end up processing them until several weeks later than we had planned. Several had bizarre tumors that we found when cleaning them. I cannot put into words how nasty these birds are to deal with.

After raising those birds, I sort of understand how they can be shoved into such close quarters in the big chicken houses. The birds just sit and eat. And crap. I can also see how more flapping is involved with processing of birds raised at home, resulting in a higher risk of the green stuff. If you are doing it by hand, there will likely be flapping. Although CC birds are really easy to catch, because they Just. Sit. And. Eat. And. Crap.

So, if you are getting your poultry at the farmer's market and you want to avoid the green, ask around and try to avoid the farmers that raise only the Cornish Crosses. If we raise any more just for meat in the future, we plan to use another breed next time, called the "Freedom Ranger", which also produces a chicken that has relatively large breasts (not as big as the CC) but is a good free range bird with superior meat quality and flavor. Some small producers are starting to use them commercially now. They will be more expensive because they take longer to grow, but they can also free range and actually forage, so feed costs are kept relatively low.

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Well, regardless of whether it's technically "safe" to eat, it skeeved me out so much that I'm not going to try it. The neighbourhood cats, on the other hand, seem to be cool with it.

Fair enough - I'll just have to start buying "pollo campero" (country chickens), which are almost to a hen Churkeys (naked-necks), another large-breasted type with good flavour. It'll mean switching providers; I do intend to let the previous chicken seller know that I had a green-breasted cut from her, and that she needs to be aware of that problem in her hens and or staff. For what it's worth, Tikidoc, I've never seen a single Cornish Cross chicken down here; the breast I had a problem with came from a Rhode Island Red, and from reading the links above it was most likely due to somebody inexperienced trying to catch the bird. Factory chickens are fairly rare down here unless one buys at the larger supermarkets, and even then they're not CCs; they're Rhodies or Plymouths. CCs don't survive the tropical conditions well (they get sick very easily), which means that they simply aren't the large-scale production chickens of choice.

ETA - Of course, if my yard was just a little bit bigger, I'd have Guineafowl, and green meat wouldn't be a problem for me at all....


Edited by Panaderia Canadiense (log)

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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