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Ask Jackie headline

Click here to ask Jackie a question!
Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Jackie Clay

Reader’s Question: Green chicken meat

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Hi Jackie!
Love your column! Here’s my question: Have you ever found GREEN meat in your roast chicken? If so – do you throw the whole bird out – or just pick out the green meat. I understand that the bones can make the meat dark or brown – but what’s up with green? I’ve had it happen twice in homegrown organic birds and two of my friends have had it happen.


Mindy Wickham
Richville, NY

I can’t say that I’ve every had green meat on my roast chicken.  It’s probably only a chemical reaction of some kind, natural in nature, sort of like how ham slices get a fluorescent sheen to them sometime.  I wouldn’t throw out the roast chicken, but just pick the green out.  I’m sure you know what the bird had eaten and it wasn’t a chemical picked up in the feed.  One tip:  sometimes overcooking poultry makes ugly colors next to the bones; try roasting a little shorter time and see if that helps. — Jackie

11 Responses to “Reader’s Question: Green chicken meat”

  1. Mike Berntsen Says:

    Long story short, Junior Livestock Auction, Reserve Grand Champ Poultry.
    I processed the birds, live to cooked. ( not the first time either )

    Green Breast meat close to the scapula. Picked out the discolored meat,
    a algdhfala no psoroagjladsblems sincljalej. Seriously, no problems.

    I have a second bird, frozen, real curious to see if this is a reoccuring issue. Maybe that natural raised, non chemically manipulated birds (something that most people don’t see) have discolorations??!!

    Only two articles on internet, I will investigate, let me know if you have more detail.

    Better call me tomorrow as I had the chicken this evening.

  2. mike berntsen Says:

    Left you a message last night.
    Sounds like gangrene. Due
    to heat trapped in the carcass, i.e.
    large breasted chicken that does not
    cool rapidly enough. When the bird is
    processed, a bath of ice water should
    help cool the carcass quicker, then pop
    into the fridge or ice box.
    When in doubt, toss the carcass as green indicates

    Hope this helps.


  3. jason Says:

    i raise and slaughter chicken on our hobbie farm. Green meat is most common in broilers, remove the green area, the rest should he fine.

  4. Philip Says:

    Deep Pectoral Myopathy. Older meat birds trying to exercise and loss of blood supply to the tenderloin causes the green colour

  5. RBFOX Says:

    Picture too!

  6. Barbara Says:

    Had a roaster chicken last night with green meat along the center bone of the upright breast. We found it during carving, after cooking. It looked just like the picture in RBFOX’s link. After much discussion, we decided we were hungry enough to eat it after liberally cutting away the green meat and tossing the carcas. The chicken meat all smelled fine and looked/tasted fine otherwise. Happy to be here today- although we laughed a bit about the many people that would be commenting about our stupidity if we had showed up on the morning news.

  7. Ronan Says:

    i found this in my chicken too when carving near the back bone. in the end we ate the rest and took the green back to the butchers to complain. rest of the chicken tasted fine, though. is the green poisonous? weird

  8. Boyd Says:

    I raise my own chickens and butcher about 100 a year. Today I killed and butchered an 8 week old Cornish Rock. The bird was raised free range and appeared to be very healthy. From kill to butchering was only about 20 minutes for bleed time and it was a cool day (60s). I butcher pretty quick and always skin and then section the bird for the freezer. When cutting the breast away from the bone I noted the meat next to the sternum to be a lime green. I was so green it actually looked grass stained. As described above, no foul odor and otherwise normal texture. I am a registered nurse and I have seen gangrene and necrotic tissue. This was not like that. I trimmed away the discolored meat and put in the freezer. I know the bird was fed a healthy diet and had not exhibited any health problems. Since I had never experienced this before I thought I better research before cooking. Based on what I have read I personally feel comfortable cooking up the bird for dinner later this week.

  9. Boyd Says:

    Here is a good article from the Poultry Science Association.

  10. Rachel Says:

    We had a roaster chicken last night with green meat along the center bone of the upright breast. We found it during carving, after cooking. The chicken was raised by my parents. We cut out the green and ate the rest… No funny smell, but lime green breast meat.
    Apparently it’s Deep Pectoral Myopathy. Older meat birds trying to exercise and loss of blood supply to the tenderloin causes the green colour.

  11. Mo Neff Says:

    I think the crop gets full of green grass and stains when the chicken is being slaughtered and innards removed.

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