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Here’s Why Your Store-Bought Chicken Is Becoming Tough and Chewy

Staff Writer
Factory farm-raised chicken is experiencing a condition known as ‘woody breast,’ rendering their meat tougher to chew

Here’s another reason to double-check where you buy your meat. Factory farm-raised chickens, aside from being fed antibiotics, are now suffering another malady due to their condition: Woody breast syndrome.

Broiler chickens are raised to grow large quickly, and therefore the fibrous tissue in the meat has become tough or chewier thanks to this hasty process, according to the Wall Street Journal. In other words: Bigger chickens equal tougher meat.

Although this new breed of chicken problem isn’t exactly a health issue, it definitely helps explain why even perfectly-cooked chicken can sometimes be a little hard to swallow. “Woody breast” syndrome affects approximately five to 10 percent of poultry worldwide.

"The causes at this point are unknown, which is why the industry is spending more than a quarter of a million dollars on four separate research projects through the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association to have all of these questions answered," Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, told CBS MoneyWatch.

This unappetizing trend could spell trouble for large chicken manufacturers like Tyson and Perdue if people stop buying their products as a result. 

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