Chicken Industry Addressing ‘Woody Breast’ Through Research

Attributable to Tom Super, NCC senior vice president of communications

“Recently, the industry and consumers alike have become aware of a muscle abnormality in chicken meat (commonly known as “woody breast”) that causes breast muscle to be hard to the touch, often pale in color with poor quality texture. It affects a very small percentage of the chickens we raise, but does not negatively impact them from a welfare standpoint. In addition, there are no food safety or health concerns for consumers because of this muscle condition.

“The exact cause is not known, so industry has embarked on research to determine the exact causes as well as possible solutions to this quality issue. Through the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, in conjunction with geneticists, veterinarians and animal scientists, the industry is funding more than a quarter of a million dollars on four separate research projects at independent universities and USDA’s Agriculture Research Service to understand the root cause of this muscle condition and remediate it as soon as possible.

“Chicken companies have employees in processing plants looking at every piece of breast meat for any quality issue, in addition to USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) personnel that inspect chicken for issues that could impact food safety and wholesomeness.

For more information on chicken care and safety, please visit:


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Address media inquiries to: Tom Super

Senior Vice President of Communications

[email protected] 202-443-4130