Skip to content

Why Chicken Sometimes Has White Stripes Throughout It

  • 4 min read

Why Chicken Sometimes Has White Stripes Throughout It

Nutritionists have recommended chicken as a better and healthier alternative to red meat due to the high-fat level in red meat. What you might not know however is that some chicken meat also contains more Fat than you might have thought. Although still significantly lower than red meat, some chicken breast still has fat levels that are above normal.

So how do you spot them, the defining feature is pretty obvious but can be quite subtle that you might have been eating more of it than you can even imagine. You might have noticed that some chicken breasts that you bought in the past had some white stripes on the flesh, while you might have dismissed them as being regular in the past, Channel 4’s food Unwrapped show is now telling you why you should pay more attention to those stripes and it’s not because the meat is diseased or anything of that sort.

Instead, such chicken breast with stripes like this actually has excess fat in them.

According to Massimiliano Petracci, who is an associate professor in the department of agricultural and food sciences at the University of Bologna who explained the cause of white stripping in chicken meat to the co-host of food unwrapped Matt Tebbutt, meat with white stripes has a higher fat content, therefore if you want really lean meat, it’s not enough to just eat chicken rather you should look out for those ones with minimal striping which will contain less fat in them.


Massimiliano while explaining the findings said: “It’s abnormal infiltration of fat inside the muscle in the chicken. Looking at the meat under a microscope, you can see that there are white cells – that means that these are a deposit, so the fat has accumulated inside”.

He said that these white striped chickens will have higher fat content of 2 to 2.5 percent compared to the normal percentage of 1% in normal chicken meat with fewer stripes.

He stated: “In normal meat, the percentage [of fat] is around 1 percent, while in white striping [meat] the fat content is 2 or 2.5 percent”.

He attributed to the increased fat to the process of that was involved in raising the chickens. Today with modern factory farming, farmers now raise genetically and chemically enhanced chickens in less than 40 days from eggs to plate. While this is a more economically viable means of raising chickens, it comes at a price and the white lines on the meat are the result of how the birds have grown.

He Said: “This kind of abnormality is associated with growth rate, and it’s related to the genetic background of the bird.”

Factory farming has caused a wild increase in the amount of striped meat that is being sold on the market. And even though it is abnormal, it has now become endemic. Since organic free-range meat tends to cost more to raise although with minimal striping which means they are healthier to eat. Farmers favor the Factory approach. The free range chickens would also be more expensive even when they are available.

But be rest assured that even despite the white stripes, the chicken’s fat content is still much lower than that of red meat which still makes it a healthier alternative, stripes or no stripes.