When was the last time you took a good look at that package of raw chicken breast before you add it to your cart at the grocery store? If you're like me, the answer is never. I buy chicken based on how much I have left in the freezer, and of course, the price (I like stocking up when there's a good sale). Going forward, however, be on the lookout for white stripes before you purchase chicken breast.

An empty grocery cart.

Healthy chicken is pink in color. If you see white stripes on your chicken, it could be a sign of a muscle disorder. According to the studies conducted by the Italian Journal of Animal Science, this condition has a big impact on the nutrition and flavor of your meat.

Those little white lines running alongside the muscle in your chicken breast don't present a safety risk to you or your family, but they affect the quality of the food you feed your family. Chicken breasts with white stripes are higher in fat and lower in protein. This not only has an impact on the nutritional value of the chicken breast, but on taste and even the tenderness of your meat.

Grilled chicken breast and greens.
Yuliia Mazurkevych/Shutterstock

Experts believe that the muscle disorder that leads to white striping on chicken meat is on the rise. But why? It's thought to be because of consumer demand for chicken. Chicken has replaced beef as the number one meat consumed in America. This means chicken farmers need to produce more product, and many are using methods such as antibiotics to produce larger chickens to help meet that demand. The issue with white striping seems to be more prevalent in these new, larger chickens.

By now you're probably wondering what you can do to make sure the food you feed your family is as nutritious and delicious as possible. Luckily, the answer is easy. Simply look at your chicken breast before you purchase it. If you see white striping, don't buy it. You can also seek out locally, humanely raised chicken that hasn't been injected with antibiotics since it's much less likely to be affected.

Healthy, raw, chicken breast.

In the end, it just comes down to paying more attention to the food you eat. It only takes a few seconds and can get started on your next visit to the grocery store.

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