If you've ever wondered what the white stripes on chicken breast are, prepare to be utterly disgusted. As it turns out, white stripes on chicken breast are not something that's supposed to be there. Instead, they signal something was wrong with the chicken.
White stripes on chicken breast indicates a muscle disorder affecting that part of the chicken. And according to a 2013 study published in the Italian Journal of Animal Science, this very disorder also affects what you get from eating the chicken. And the news is not good.
This condition ups the fat content of the meat by a whopping 224 percent and lowers the amount of protein—one of the biggest nutritional benefits we normally get from eating chicken breasts. On top of that, a 2016 study by University of Arkansas and Texas A&M says this condition also "negatively impacts meat quality" by affecting the marinade uptake and cook loss.
Wow! So not only do white stripes on chicken breast make it a less healthy choice to eat, they also make it taste worse than it would without them. And unfortunately, experts at the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M say this condition may be on the rise in chicken meat. After all, Americans are consuming more and more chicken each year (the average American eats 90 pounds per year!), so this supply and demand encourages farmers to produce bigger birds in less time.
In other words, don't be shocked if you start seeing more white stripes on chicken breast in your local grocery store. But wait, what if you've eaten some of this striped chicken? Don't worry; there's no need to panic. Your overall health is not in danger from that alone.
A spokesman for the National Chicken Council said these white stripes only affect a "small percentage of chicken meat," and "does not create any health or food safety concerns for people." And generally, as long as it's not breaded or fried, chicken is usually still overall a healthy choice.
Phew! But like always, it never hurts to keep your eyes peeled—especially when it comes to your food.