I smoked a whole chicken. When I cut into the breast I found this:

Yellow-green fiber-looking meat inside regular cooked chicken breast

What is it and is my chicken ruined?


2 Answers 2


It's called deep pectoral myopathy or "green muscle disease", and it's a problem with heavy breasted poultry. The vessels are unable to supply enough blood to the muscle, with the result of death of the muscles affected. It's not detectable until the chicken is cut open. By the time you see the green colour, muscle death occurred a couple of weeks prior and fibrous woody tissue has developed. Since breeding practices for roaster chickens and turkeys often favor heavy-breasted poultry, this is likely to be found more often until that changes.

There is no odour or bacterial growth with this, and the meat itself is safe to eat, though no one would eat the green part. The Occurrence of Deep Pectoral Myopathy in Roaster Chickens, from The Journal of Applied Poultry Research, has extensive info available about it.

  • Seems to be more common due to selective breeding of chickens and turkeys for higher percentage of white breast meat in the shortest time possible to raise them to roaster size. Fryers and broilers are usually between 6-8 weeks old and roasters, 3-4 months old. But the classification isn't so much based on a chicken's age as it is their weight. Therefore if chickens can reach the proper weight category quickly, it's more profitable for the producer. Larger poultry in a shorter time frame was the reason antibiotics were used in the industry so much. It made for increased size.
    – Jude
    Apr 6, 2017 at 5:45
  • 35
    You say "the meat itself is safe to eat though no one would eat the green part". Is this purely because of the colour, or does it taste bad?
    – Tom Bowen
    Apr 6, 2017 at 7:52
  • 35
    @Tom.Bowen89 Who would want to eat the fibrous woody tissue? Apr 6, 2017 at 10:08
  • 3
    Tom.Bowen89 Apparently, while there's no harm in eating the green part (no bacterial contamination), it doesn't taste good. Not that I think it would look even slightly appealing!
    – Jude
    Apr 6, 2017 at 10:43
  • 10
    Humans have put weirder things in their mouths before!
    – Pyritie
    Apr 7, 2017 at 12:44

The muscle died and the fibre are discoloured because of it.

The muscle died primarily, because it was genetically developed to grow too quickly for its heart and blood was not able to get to the specific area.

However it could have been due to it not having enough room to move or if it got an infection from standing in several generations of feces from previous chickens. They do get a lot of antibiotics to prevent this, though.

Either way, I'm sure you can appreciate that a muscle dying in a living body is not the most pleasant of experiences. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentrated_animal_feeding_operation#Animal_health_and_welfare_concerns

  • 1
    Do you really mean genetically developed, as in modification not just selective breeding? I've never heard of that for chickens - do you have a source for that?
    – Cascabel
    Apr 10, 2017 at 14:52
  • I appreciate that you edited your first answer, thank you. As this answer is almost identical, we'll leave the deleted one deleted.
    – Jolenealaska
    Apr 10, 2017 at 14:58
  • Link to Genetically modified "broiler" chicken onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/…
    – Jonathan
    Apr 10, 2017 at 19:45

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