How are perdue chickens raised?
Are there different types of chickens in the United States?
The Classification of Poultry in the US is voluntary while the inspection is mandatory. According to FDA:
All chickens found in retail stores are controlled by either the USDA or state systems whose standards match those of the federal government. Each chicken and its internal organs are examined for signs of illness. The "Health Examined by the US Department of Agriculture" seal ensures that the chicken is free of any visible signs of disease.
The inspection is compulsory, but the classification is voluntary. Chickens are graded for meatiness, appearance, and flawlessness according to the regulations and standards of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Class A chickens have plump, fleshy bodies and clean skin that is free of bruises, broken bones, feathers, cuts, and discoloration.
The current U.S. poultry classification standards can be found in the USDA document. Grade A chicken overall (the actual standards take 5 pages):
- Looks great - no discoloration, stains, bruises, or inappropriate cuts
- Covered at least 75% of the skin (if applicable)
- Is plump and "good meaty"
- All feathers have been removed
Any chicken that has actually been rated will almost certainly be flagged as it is a marketing issue. Otherwise it's ungraded but inspected chicken. My personal experience is that most chickens are not rated in retail stores, at least where I live.
Factors that affect the toughness or quality of the chicken in decreasing order of importance include:
- The age of the bird
- Any injections or additives to meat, such as B. a saline solution, through the packer; Bringing partially denatures the proteins in the meat and can contribute to the "rubbery" texture mentioned in the question
- The way the bird was treated and fed (some heirloom or boutique chickens are raised in a more traditional way, move a lot more and may have a more varied diet and therefore harder but tastier meat. -But I want this not turn into a political treatise on poultry production methods)
- The breed of the bird
The size of the commercial chicken depends almost entirely on the age of the chicken. thus the relative toughness of the meat correlates fairly well with size.
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