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Green chicken??

mickie44 Oct 30, 2008 11:06 AM

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?

  1. a
    adamshoe Oct 30, 2008 05:41 PM

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

    1. jayt90 Oct 30, 2008 05:46 PM

      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
        mickie44 Oct 30, 2008 06:07 PM

        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. CadienBelle Oct 30, 2008 06:08 PM

        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.

        8 Replies
        1. re: CadienBelle
          mickie44 Oct 30, 2008 06:13 PM

          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
            CadienBelle Oct 31, 2008 12:48 PM

            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: CadienBelle
              mickie44 Oct 31, 2008 03:32 PM

              Thanks for this good explanation.

              1. re: mickie44
                jayt90 Oct 31, 2008 05:20 PM

                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
                alkapal Aug 15, 2009 06:27 AM

                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: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/c...

                1. re: alkapal
                  jayt90 Aug 15, 2009 09:13 AM

                  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
                    alkapal Aug 16, 2009 04:06 AM

                    here's "focus on ground beef" http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Ground_Beef_and_Food_Safety/index.asp

                    a fact sheet on beef http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Beef_from_Farm_to_Table/index.asp

                    focus on pork: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Pork_from_Farm_to_Table/index.asp

                    the fsis is a treasure trove of information about our food supply and food safety: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/...

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

                    1. re: alkapal
                      Bryn Jan 13, 2010 07:17 PM

                      Health Canada or the Canadian food inspection agency (CFIA)

            2. Bryn Oct 30, 2008 06:21 PM

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bryn
                mickie44 Oct 30, 2008 06:57 PM

                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. jayt90 Oct 30, 2008 06:54 PM

                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.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jayt90
                  mickie44 Oct 30, 2008 08:22 PM

                  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.

                2. s
                  swsidejim Oct 31, 2008 12:51 PM

                  Truly environmentally friendly , organic, "green" chicken, where do I get some? Hilarious....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: swsidejim
                    mickie44 Oct 31, 2008 03:35 PM

                    I had a good laugh too when I googled variations of green organic chicken and got mostly recipes for green chile with chicken and good-for-the-environment stuff. I can go out to the dumpster and get mine if you really want some.

                  2. j
                    JennieLee Mar 18, 2009 04:42 PM

                    OMG! This just happened to us. While carving our organic baked chicken imported from England Eberley's brand (we live in Bermuda) we discovered that both breasts had a portion of bright green in the middle of the breast. The meat although bright green had no odor or difference in texture. We of course didn't eat the green part but we had already eaten half of the bird so hopefully we too will have no ill effects. Wierd, huh? Deep tissue necrosis? It was almost like the muscle was just discolored rather than affected in any way - any diet effect? Post in if this has happened to you!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JennieLee
                      Lauren Cooks May 13, 2009 09:34 PM

                      OK weird, yes we had the same problem I think it's amazing it happens in the same spot in the breast right next to the bone. Yuck! My first impression after mulling over the alternatives was it was gangrene. Our green spot was smelly, the chicken had just come out of the oven and the spot definitely smelled stinky. Hungry, and dinnertime, I actually ate some of it and now regret it...

                      This chicken was purchased at Whole Foods. It was not organic and not air chilled, but a regular well-behaved Rocky.

                    2. m
                      macmak Aug 14, 2009 06:26 PM

                      this just happened to us... bot a nice 5lb bird from local grocery chain, and one side of the breast looked wonderful... my 14 yr old started eating. When we carved up the other breast, a portion of the meat was as reported above lime green with no odor. My son had finished his portion, we couldn't stomach eating anymore of the bird. Returned it to the store (my husband was adamant that they see the issue!) and we got our money back. Now I am afraid I will never roast a chicken again!

                      1. i
                        icecreaminbed Jan 13, 2010 03:25 PM

                        ME TOO! I just bought an organic from a great farmer I've been buying from for a year. When I carved the right side, by the breast bone the meat was pale green. It was extremely alarming.

                        THANK GOD for Chowhound. I searched everywhere for an answer and only found it here.
                        THANKS READERS for posting your experiences - as well as saying you didn't become roaringly ill - saved my dinner party! Now... what was that?!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: icecreaminbed
                          skylark skipper Jan 18, 2010 04:07 PM

                          Odd way to discover a promising foodie site but here's another example of the on-line search for an explanation for the green breast meat in this free-range roast chicken. Never had such an experience. What a pity too as the bird was otherwise a beauty and bought from a butcher that I'd decided had the best meat in the city.
                          Thanks for the info. I'm looking forward to telling the butcher and seeing how he responds.

                        2. m
                          mel888cregularity tariff Feb 20, 2010 06:14 PM

                          Hi I bought a chicken at the farmers market today, locally raised, grain fed. I was done eating and I was pulling all the leftover meat off the bone when I found a green pocket close to the brest bone, I threw the remainder out. This was the first time I purchased a chicken there and now I am concerned, not to mention the price was significantly higher $22 vs $10 for a supermarket bird.

                          1. w
                            Whippet Feb 20, 2010 08:13 PM

                            I think this is pectoral myopathy (aka Oregon disease). It happens from exercise (wing-flapping) in birds bred for large breasts, since these muscles are right up against the sternum. There's no room for the natural swelling to occur, and you get necrosis, because bloodflow gets pinched off.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Whippet
                              mickie44 Feb 21, 2010 07:26 AM

                              Whippet, thank you -- I think you got it. Here's a link for others concerned with the safety of the meat:


                              1. re: mickie44
                                Whippet Feb 21, 2010 10:52 AM

                                For those who don't want to sort through a scientific paper: this meat is safe, but it probably does not come from happy birds.

                                1. re: Whippet
                                  alkapal Mar 12, 2010 04:52 AM

                                  necrotic meat is safe?

                                  1. re: Whippet
                                    martin001 Aug 14, 2010 07:29 PM

                                    we came across this issue tonight when butchering chickens. out of about 90 birds, we found a few with this condition. interestingly, the number with the green muscle seems to correspond to the "lucky" few that were raised basically free-range with an "adoptive" broody hen (also raised 12 egg-layer chicks for us, the broiler chicks she had were mistakenly put in with her as it is very hard to distinguish between broiler and Leghorn day-old chicks! oops didn't think that one through when ordering the chicks!). anyway, the free-range broilers obviously took it upon themselves to run around and flap their wings a whole lot more than the rest of the broilers that basically sat in their pen and walked between the food, water, and resting spot.

                                    from this not-very-well-controlled experiment, I would propose that this greenish condition might be more often seen in free-range chickens that run around more and not necessarily indicate that the birds were roughly handled during the slaughter time. I would like to think that the free-rangers had a happier chicken life while it lasted, anyway!

                                    unfortunately, we found this info out tonight a little too late and have already discarded the baby with the bath water as far as the greenish breasts.

                              2. Manitoba Chicken Mar 11, 2010 01:47 PM

                                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

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Manitoba Chicken
                                  shanagain Mar 11, 2010 01:59 PM

                                  Thanks for this post - what an utterly fascinating discussion.

                                  1. re: Manitoba Chicken
                                    lola74 Apr 30, 2010 02:15 PM

                                    My father rears his own chiken for eating and they have all been fine, they seem to grow very fast and the last few birds have reach apporx 8-10lb in weight, I was given a bird that had been freshly killed and when i got it home and cut in half it had this green meat in the breast either side of the bone, it didnt smell but it was a different texture as if it had been cooked the rest the meat peeled away and you wouldnt have thought there was anything wrong. but it was raw meat......so could you give any suggestion as to what it could be....as your saying its not present in raw meat ?

                                    1. re: lola74
                                      Whats_For_Dinner Apr 30, 2010 09:45 PM

                                      A "cooked" texture would seem to me to be a pretty strong indicator of necrotic tissue.

                                      The posts right above this one have some good info. Fascinating, actually -- first I've read about this, and it's really interesting stuff.

                                    2. re: Manitoba Chicken
                                      Muir1 Aug 19, 2010 01:52 PM

                                      I live in the uk and have been a chef for the last 25 years and i know my chickens. Last week i bought a chicken and cut either side of the breast bone of a completely normal looking and smelling chicken, again as above the internal muscle about half an inch through the normal meat was lime green in colour and this was lightly coated with bright red blood, the green flesh was feathered in texture as if it had been frozen so something has affected the texture (necrosis?) inside the cavity was totally clean and normal! I am none to happy about this, i have plenty of photographic evidence and the supermarket are sending it to the lab for tests. This is not about wing flapping and if this has something to do with necrosis believe me rotting and decomposing flesh is not what i would even attempt to eat or serve to my 2 year old daughter so im not sold on your explanation. I will continue my quest to find out what is going on, seems to me there is a problem all over and know one is looking into this thoroughly enough.


                                      1. re: Muir1
                                        mickie44 Aug 20, 2010 11:48 AM

                                        Please do let us know what you find. Thanks ~~ Mickie

                                        1. re: Muir1
                                          AshleyArmsworthy Oct 20, 2011 05:31 PM

                                          Hi. My husband and I raise free range meat chickens for our own consumption and have for several years. We slaughter them ourselves, around 12 weeks of age. We treat them very well. This is the first time we ever had chickens with lime green breasts. One also had it around the wings. There is no odor to the meat. The chickens were never stressed, had access to fresh pasture and water, as well as a clean barn to sleep in at night. We didn't do anything different this year than the other years. So, my question is why am I seeing this now? If it is something that is common in free range chickens, shouldn't we have seen it before? Ashley

                                        2. re: Manitoba Chicken
                                          LinCol Dec 4, 2011 08:01 PM

                                          I have to respectively say that I agree with most of your information, however I do not agree with the "careful in Handling part." I have purchased Cornish X Rocks a big breasted type of chicken and raised them from 2-3 day old chicks to the time of butchering them. Today while eating our Home Grown Chicken, (butchered, refrigerated and cooked in a few hours direclty afterwards) we had the same thing. At first I thought it was just dark meat. At closer look, it was definitely green. I think after reading the other posts, that this has to do with the breeding for "large breasted" breeds. While further checking out this chicken I noticed that the Breast Bone was very thin and the center bone that sticks up like a shark fin was very thin and almost sharp. We have noticed that these chickens will eat until they bust. They are supposed to be fast growing, but not this bunch. The chicks were Shipped to us around June 28th and we are now just reaching 8lbs in December. They were not overfed, we watched them to not over feed as their legs tend to give out on them if grown at fast rates. I also have an Uncle who has this problem with a chicken. He feed them and butchered his at around 16-18 weeks @ 8-10# We also were NOT rough in handling them. We hardly ever touched them, but they would do a lot of wing flapping in the morning when let outdoors to eat ! These chickens almost taste like turkey. Good, but on the tough side.

                                        3. Passadumkeg Apr 30, 2010 02:35 PM

                                          An Irish chicken?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                                            boyzoma Apr 30, 2010 03:30 PM

                                            Oh - you are too funny!

                                          2. l
                                            lonely cook Jun 1, 2010 04:45 PM

                                            I cooked a large Perdue chicken tonight. It had lime green meat on one side of the breast, it ran along the bone. so if I am not mistaken what you are saying is the bird was not slaughtered humanly??

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lonely cook
                                              shanagain Jun 1, 2010 07:34 PM

                                              Or "caught" humanely - that's what I took out of the discussion.

                                              But I'd imagine that it's possible for a chicken to just manage to pull a muscle now and then like any of us, right?

                                            2. ZenSojourner Aug 20, 2010 12:13 PM

                                              This was all very interesting. I would be interested to know the breeds of chicken people have seen this in. Was it just the typical 3-way crosses (same birds used on battery farms)?

                                              Or have people seen this in heirloom birds as well, such as Buff Orpingtons and other non-hybrid birds which have not been bred to have the huge breasts (twice as big as I expect a chicken breast to be).

                                              The "typical" hybrid is a three-way cross by the way, too complicated for individual breeders to bother with and generally purchased exclusively through poultry suppliers.

                                              1. d
                                                deathmonkey Oct 18, 2010 06:02 PM

                                                I was breaking down a free range bird just moments ago when I found green, cooked-feeling tenderloins in the center (I call them tenderloins, I don't know what they really are. Fingers?). The underside of the breasts were slightly tinged green. The two tenderloins beneath the membrane were greenish yellow and had a mealy, cooked texture to them. No smell, thank god. It's hard to make this more gross, but one of the first things I thought was "Zombie chicken flesh!" No, not zombie flesh, just necrotized pectoral muscles. Much less disturbing

                                                I think I'm going to have to toss the bird, which is a shame because I didn't get a receipt at the store. My favorite part about this whole thing is that it's called Oregon disease and here I am in Oregon. I didn't even know we had a disease!

                                                1. k
                                                  katlian Jan 26, 2011 02:39 PM

                                                  It's called Deep Pectoral Myopathy or Green Muscle Disease.


                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: katlian
                                                    Madele Aug 6, 2011 03:47 PM

                                                    In my situation today, it was a "fully inspected" organic chicken that I had thawed out, not cooked yet. I was cutting out the breast for a stir fry. I noticed the right breast was a bit softer then I was used to but kept going. Then deep in the muscle of the left breast, against the breats bone, I found a green mass about 3 inches by 1 inch. It looked the shape of a muscle but quite woody texture. What is that? I threw the whole bird out and kept the growth to show the farmer next week. The growth or deformed muscle is in my freezer. Any other thoughts as to what this migth be? I'm nervouis about thawing the other chickens I bougth at the same time.

                                                    1. re: Madele
                                                      mickie44 Aug 11, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                      It only happened in the one I originally posted about. Have never had the same problem again from the same farmer. We had eaten the cooked chicken before discovering it and suffered no ill consequences. Many of the replies above explain why it occurs.

                                                  2. dave_c Aug 11, 2011 09:52 AM

                                                    Wow! This is a very interesting subject. I've never seen or heard of this problem before. However, I generally buy fryers which are young and lighter (under 4 lbs).
                                                    Based upon the comments, this sounds like a common occurrence for larger, mature birds.

                                                    1. r
                                                      reelpleasure1997 Nov 24, 2011 05:12 PM

                                                      I have/raise turkeys and chickens. I was just carving out thanksgiving turkey who has been a free range organic turkey his entire life and like described in the discussion had a portion right up on the center of his breast plat a bright green area. We ate the turkey and left the area around the "green meat" and so far were not sick. So I guess Turkeys can have it also

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: reelpleasure1997
                                                        AshleyArmsworthy Nov 25, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                        You say you raise turkeys and chickens, have you ever seen this before? Most people I've talked to have never heard of this before. Whatever it is it is not caused by inhumane treatment, either during the time the birds are growing or during the time they are slaughtered, at least in our case. I would like to know what causes it.

                                                        1. re: AshleyArmsworthy
                                                          reelpleasure1997 Nov 27, 2011 07:54 AM

                                                          I have never seen this before. I will say that the turkey had a unfortunate event which let to him being selected for Turkey Day.... This could have caused the green discoloration but when they collect chickens at a commerical chicken production its not a gentle process. I don't know how commerical poultry dosent have the green areas maybe antibotics? Any animal could get roughed up a little fighting/stuck/caught in a cage/falling/chased by predators when you have chickens running around the yard or in "open" cages. It could simply be a pulled muscle from anything. I dont think someone who takes the time for organic free range poulty is going to abuse them.... but you never really know

                                                          1. re: AshleyArmsworthy
                                                            katlian Nov 28, 2011 01:55 PM

                                                            The root cause of deep pectoral myopathy (green muscle disease) is the trend toward breeding chickens and turkeys for fast growth and large breast meat. In birds that are genetically prone, any vigorous wing flapping, even normal exercise or territorial displays, can cause it. It was actually first reported in turkeys.

                                                        2. t
                                                          tkbstuff Dec 29, 2011 12:22 AM

                                                          I'm in Northern California and just found the greenish patches in a Safeway-purchased, Foster Farms chicken. The bird weighed 5.13 lbs.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: tkbstuff
                                                            BriTer Jan 27, 2012 06:42 PM

                                                            This is Deep Pectoral Myopathy. Rather than attempt any explanation, Google it, lots of info there. It IS visible in fresh chickens. When the occurence is very recent it appears as an almost purple coloration of the flesh right next to the breast bone. No consumer health issues associated to it but not great to find in a roasted bird. In the past two days we processed 300 chicken (meat birds) and out of that at least 30 were found.

                                                          2. f
                                                            farmerdella Dec 12, 2012 12:39 PM

                                                            I have been raising chickens most of my life. Started having a problem with deep pectoral myopathy (green muscle) about 12 years ago despite the fact that my chicks were sourced from the same breeder for over 50 years and my family has never ever seen that problem before.
                                                            The vet first said it was a bruise and checked my birds for disease. They were disease free. Not a food safety problem he said then and the vets say the same thing now. I had my birds checked by the vet again when I started finding more of it to make sure it wasn't disease. I eat chicken from the same flock as my customers do so I sure don't want to be hurting my family either. I couldn't live with myself if I made someone sick from what I produced.
                                                            I have since learned it was DPM. My chickens are free-range, flap their wings -- always have, always will.
                                                            I contacted the breeder who put me onto one of the two breeders for North America (yes there are only two that supply most of the genetics other than rare breeds in NA). They told me it was DPM and was due to management problems and sent me a pamphlet on it. When I explained my absolutely no stress system (the only time they are handled is 15 minutes before slaughter and they are not held by their feet either. I carry them squatting under my arm which is the only humane way to carry chickens), the conclusion was that the fact that I let my chickens flap their wings was the management problem!
                                                            Chickens are chickens. They must flap their wings. No matter how much I implored them not to they did. But the genetics in these birds, designed to maximize breast development, compromises their cardio-vascular systems so much that when they do exercise and flap their wings, sometimes the blood vessels that feed their breasts explode. This then starves the breast of blood and the tenders die. It takes at least two weeks for the "green" to develop. If it is recent, there can be a bloody site, later on it starts to turn pale and then greens up. It's yucky too because the tenders get almost fibrous.
                                                            So, mishandling during catching has nothing to do with it. These injuries will show up as bruising and blood spots on the meat. There is a lot of mishandling of chickens, especially in the factory units and killing plants.
                                                            The problem for me as a producer is that I can't see the DPM from inside the chicken or from the outside. They look perfectly normal. So I don't know if the chicken I'm selling is free from it or not. It is only when one cuts into them either raw or cooked that the problem can be detected..
                                                            So, folks, please don't blame the producer. It is the industrial chicken production system that wants fast growing birds and creates these genetics for birds that are confined in facilities where they can barely move. So factory farmed birds are less likely to exhibit DPM due to their restricted movement and also because they are killed quite young compared to free range, roaster sized chickens.
                                                            Also, I do the slow grow feeding thing. Whole grains, pasture and lots of exercise. I still have the problem.
                                                            I'm not happy nor are my customers and justifiably so.
                                                            I'm moving to foundation and rare breeds now and don't expect to have any problems with DPM.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: farmerdella
                                                              jeanmarieok Dec 12, 2012 06:51 PM

                                                              Thanks for posting, farmerdella - very interesting information.

                                                            2. k
                                                              karlbehr Oct 11, 2013 03:10 PM

                                                              I don't know if this discussion is still active but a customer of mine just found some green meat near the breast bone of one of my pasture raised chickens. From this forum I have learned that it is called Deep Pectoral Myopathy and some have suggested that it is from rough handling, or strenuous exercise. Well, from an early age (two weeks) these Cornish Cross birds start to confront each other and vie for dominance in the flock. Every feeding time when I remove the feeders to refill them the males in Particular start to bump chests and flap their wings vigorously as a show of force. It lasts only a few seconds, but is so common I think nothing of it. I raise a few thousand birds a year on pasture on the Joel Salatin model and it seems quite possible that this posturing may be the cause of the muscle damage.

                                                              Karl Behr

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