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Posts Tagged ‘Foster Farms’


You might remember the post I did questioning what happened to the dark meat on chicken. To refresh your memory, you can see the post by clicking here! I was questioning what happened to the dark meat on chicken. The photo below shows a thigh and a breast and you can see very little difference in the color of the meat. I had sent Foster Farms a note questioning why the change.

Can you tell the difference?

Can you tell the difference?

Here is the response from Teresa Lenz at Foster Farms, which I was given permission to post:

“Thank you for your interest in Foster Farms. We wanted to help address your question regarding white and dark chicken meat.

Different parts of the bird may have differences in color due to the locations and types of muscles. Actual differences in color vary naturally from bird to bird. While dark meat parts are generally deeper in color due to the muscles containing more myoglobin, the actual amount of this natural protein and resulting color varies by bird. Physical appearance alone does not dictate whether the piece of meat is from a white meat or dark meat muscle, and color of the cooked meat may also be influenced by cooking method, temperature and lighting.

At Foster Farms, our chickens are raised in large poultry barns (without cages) that allow the birds to move around freely and to exhibit natural behaviors. Foster Farms prioritizes the care and wellbeing of its birds and all Foster Farms fresh chickens are American Humane Certified. For more information about our commitment to the humane care of our birds, please visit our website at FosterFarms.com.”

Thank you Teresa and Foster Farms for responding.

I do appreciate the response but I have been cooking their chickens for more than 40 years and have only recently experienced what the photo above shows us. My cooking technique has not changed, nor has the temperature at which I cook it. As far as lighting goes, I did not mess with the photo I took, and you can clearly see that the dark meat is no longer dark.

I am thinking free range and maybe organic is the way to go now for dark meat on a chicken!

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I don’t know about you, but I love the dark meat on the chicken. It is moister than the breast, and more flavorful, don’t you think? We have the perfect arrangement here at the house as my husband loves the white meat and I love the dark meat. No fighting over a piece of chicken. That is until the other night…

I baked a whole chicken, stuffing the bird’s cavity with parsley. I lathered it with EVOO and then Spiked the bird, adding garlic powder. One can never get enough of the lovely flavor of garlic! When my husband reads this I will not hear the end of it! I put it in the oven to bake, the aromas filling the house with the promise of a lovely meal to come! Checking on this bird it looked lovely!

Such a lovely looking bird!

Such a lovely looking bird!

Could you smell the garlic and spices?

When I took the chicken out of the oven it sat for 10 minutes before I started my magic carving technique. So, now, my dear readers, I have a quiz for you! “What?” you exclaim! Come on…this one should be easy….

The test is to guess what part of the chicken you are looking at in the next two photos! Ready?

Photo #1

This one is....

This one is….

Photo #2

This one is....

This one is….

Now add in the song from that popular show while waiting for the final answer…

♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫

But wait! Before I let you know whether or not you guessed correctly…some facts about what makes white meat white, and dark meat dark!

The difference is due to what is called “fast twitch” and “slow twitch” muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers are muscle fibers used for quick bursts of energy. One such activity using this energy would be fleeing from danger. The muscle gets its energy from glycogen, which is stored in the muscle. When it is cooked the proteins coagulate and the meat when cooked turns whitish.

Slow twitch muscle fibers are the muscle fiber used for extended periods of time for something such as walking. To have the energy needed, it must have a constant source of energy. It is myoglobin that stores oxygen in the muscle cells of say the legs and thighs, and the constant source of energy is the oxygen which is extracted from the the muscles for use in normal daily activities. When cooked the meat in these tissues are darker in color.

Enough! Did you guess correctly?

Photo #1 –

This is the breast!

This is the breast!

So photo #2 must be…
This is the thigh!

This is the thigh!

What? The color looks the same! So, for me the question is why? Does this mean that chickens are not getting the activity that they need? Are they packed in at the farm so tightly that they can not move about? Or, are our food companies messing with our food? Inquiring minds want to know!

The chicken in this post came from Foster Farms, who by the way changed their thigh packaging from 6 thighs of relatively equal pieces down to 4 uneven pieces. I have had similar results with the thigh color recently from Tyson Chicken. I sent the question to Foster Farms as to why the dark coloring has disappeared from their chicken. When I get the answer, I will let you know!

Here are the two pieces side by side. Did you guess correctly?

Did you guess right?

Did you guess right?

What I think I need to start doing is buying a chicken that is free range so that I can have dark meat and white meat. Have you noticed a change in your chicken too? I would love to hear from you!

So stay tuned for a follow up when I hear back from Foster Farms. Until then, have a great day, and thank you for visiting today!

Information on the difference in white meat and dark meat from Exploratorium.Edu

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