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Oct 30, 2008 11:06 AM

Green chicken??

When deboning an organic chicken last night, I found the meat right next to and on both sides of the breastbone was lime green with no off odor. We had eaten some of the outer meat before making this discovery and survived the night with no symptoms other than mental stress.

I googled it and found a few forums which discussed this but nothing authoratitve. The farmer said he had seen this a couple of times before but didn't know what caused it.

Any ideas?

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  1. Grass-fed chicken? Weird....keep us posted on your findings.

    1. Was the meat inspected when killed, by a veterinarian? Or farm killed and sold by the grower? This is not a good sign but inspection of the organs would be informative.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jayt90

        It was a farmgate sale, no inspection. I trust local farmers more than the big companies that have been recalling meat right and left. I have dealt with this fellow for a few years with no problem. The only suggestion I have found is that it was gangrene -- due to breeding chickens for more breast meat, this person thought perhaps the blood flow to part of the breast had been cut off. Several other people on the forum had seen it exactly as I described -- organic, right next to the breast bone, lime green, no smell. Again, no authorities have spoken.

      2. Green in the meat of chicken whether it has an odor or not is a sign of rot and should be thrown out.

        I worked for the FDA and this has come up before and there are several attempted answers. As a rule it usually happens in the larger breasted chickens.

        12 Replies
        1. re: CadienBelle

          Throw out the whole thing or just the bad stuff? This question is for curiosity only as I have already thrown it out and the farmer is replacing it. It was such a defined area and such a strange shade of green that I didn't really associate it with rot.

          1. re: CadienBelle

            I would recommend throwing out the whole thing. Because these chickens have such large breasts (consumer demand for larger chickens) the chilling process takes longer in that part of the meat and the meat next to the bone starts to rot. Some chickens that have been chilled to the proper temp. for storage will test warm in the breast meat. Then when the meat is cooked the process continues and the meat turns green.

              1. re: mickie44

                It's worth asking the farmer how they drain, de-feather, (scalding?) and hold the chickens for pick up. And whether these organic birds are bred for extra large breast size, much like battery birds.

              2. re: CadienBelle

                why doesn't the u.s.d.a. address this -- at least for chickens found in retail stores (which i thought were within their bailiwick)?

                here are some fun facts for your next dinner party:

                1. re: alkapal

                  Thanks . That is a useful fact sheet. I wish I had that for beef and pork, and the equivalent CFIA sheets (Canada).

                  1. re: jayt90

                    here's "focus on ground beef"

                    a fact sheet on beef

                    focus on pork:

                    the fsis is a treasure trove of information about our food supply and food safety:

                    i don't know the canadian counterpart to the fsis, though.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Health Canada or the Canadian food inspection agency (CFIA)

                2. re: CadienBelle

                  I would be interested in discussing this with you. I just found the same thing in one of my own birds and have found this before. same exact description meat is green next to the bone in the breast only and has no odor. since I process these birds myself I know exactly what happened to them. This is not rot. I'm suspecting some kind of infection and would like to know if anyone has done any kind of testing on the green meat? my birds are killed scalded and plucked four at a time, then placed in cold water one at a time immediately after plucking. I use a commercial plucker and the birds do not pluck well if they are not plucked while they are still hot from the scalding tank. timing is critical in the scalding tank as well. if they are not scalded at the right temperature or for the right length of time they do not pluck well or on the other extreme would be that the skin cooks and gets torn up in the plucker. scalding and plucking are time sensitive and all happens in minutes. They are then eviscerated washed and placed into another tank of cold water for continued cooling and packaging. I have never found this green meat anywhere but next to the bone in the breast. the rinsing with cold water and cooling in cold water should cool the bird from the inside out as well as from the outside in. I realize that the bone would slow cooling a little but it is too close to the bone for me to believe it is rot. it should be in a larger area and deeper into the thick part of the meat in my opinion. I would think that we would also find spoilage in the thigh area of the same birds and I have never found it there. what are your thoughts and questions?

                  1. re: countryboy2

                    I was told by Perdue that it is what they call a "sports injury"...simply a bruise from a chicken flying into a post or even the ceiling in the coup. The intensity of the color depends on the age of the injury, just like a human bruise. Not appetizing, but not at all dangerous to eat.

                    1. re: countryboy2

                      search on "deep pectoral myopathy"

                      1. re: countryboy2

                        I process my own chickens too. You can't see the green breast from either the inside of the bird or the outside. It is only when you cut into it that it can be seen. See my other post of today.
                        It's called deep pectoral myopathy caused by the bursting of the blood vessels that feed the tender in the chicken breast. by the time it is green and woody, the blood vessel rupture has happened at least a week to 2 weeks before. If you have noticed pale meat next to the breast bone, that is a younger stage in the process.
                        It is not your fault.
                        Where do you buy your day old chicks? From a standard commercial hatchery?
                        It's the breeding of the cornish.
                        I process my birds much the same way you do. I have taken green muscle chicken to the vet and had them inspected for any kind of disease. They were disease free and the diagnosis was deep pectoral myopathy.
                        The only prevention for this is to force the breeders to change the genetics or to use foundation heritage breeds, breed our own birds, develop our own genetics and hatch our own chicks.

                  2. It shouldn't be bacteria or mould because that would affect the outside before near the bone.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bryn

                      That's what I initially thought too but then I realized that the inside, once cleaned out (and I'm referring to the butchering, not the kitchen prep), would be exposed to air and would retain more heat if not chilled properly.

                    2. I can't speak for British Columbia, but in Ontario all farm slaughtered animals have to be approved by an inspector. The only exceptions are those that do not leave the farm, for family use.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jayt90

                        BC is in transition. Small farmers were in danger of being put out of business by the proposed law which is an ill-disguised protection of corporate farming. The farmers and the customers who try to shop and eat locally have protested. I'm not sure where it stands at the moment.