Video does not show fake or lab-grown chicken meat sold at Walmart

By: Emmi Kivi
September 11 2023

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Video does not show fake or lab-grown chicken meat sold at Walmart

Source: Tiktok


The Verdict False

The video does not show fake or lab-grown chicken meat. The string-like meat is a harmless muscular abnormality.

Claim ID 753b28cc

What is the claim? 

In a viral TikTok video, a Walmart customer can be seen easily peeling raw chicken breasts into small string-like pieces, sparking a debate about whether the meat is real or lab-grown. The video has garnered 73,000 views and over 15,000 comments so far.

However, this string-like chicken meat is harmless to consumers. However, experts say it is one of several possible muscle abnormalities observed in a small number of fast-growing broilers.

What did we find?

Associate Professor from the University of Georgia, Andrew Parks Benson, told Logically Facts that it could result from a quality issue with broiler meat called “gaping.” It refers to the separation of the fiber bundles that affects the bipinnate pectoralis minor muscle. It may be another muscle abnormality caused by the increased growth rate of broiler chickens.

Another possible cause is a muscular abnormality often called “spaghetti meat,” which affects the Pectoralis major muscle of a fraction of fast-growing broiler chickens. It mainly disturbs the breast muscle, leading to the loss of integrity of the muscle fiber. As a result, the meat appears soft, spongy, and easily torn into spaghetti-like strings. The meat is not harmful to consumers but the condition may be detrimental to the meat composition and nutritional value. A spokesperson for the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) told Logically Facts, “It is a quality defect that presents no food safety issue.”

Cases of the muscle defect were first conveyed in 2015; scientists believe the abnormality in the muscle fiber may be caused by breeding to make big-breasted chickens grow faster. “There is proof that these abnormalities are associated with fast-growing birds,” Dr. Massimiliano Petracci, a professor of agriculture and food science at the University of Bologna in Italy, told the Wall Street Journal.

According to the U.S. National Chicken Council, Chicken consumption has surged in the U.S. from 77.4 pounds/per capita to 100.6 pounds/per capita in 2022. The increased demand has led the industry to breed birds to grow faster and develop larger breasts through genetic selection. According to the National Chicken Council, the size of broiler chickens has continuously grown. In the past ten years, the market weight of broiler chickens has grown from 5.7 pounds to 6.56 pounds, compared to the 5.03 weight measured in 2000.

In June 2023, the U.S. permitted the sale of lab-grown meat. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval applies to lab-grown food companies Upside Foods and GOOD Meat Inc., allowing them to offer chicken produced from animal cells. The FSIS spokesperson told Logically Facts, “Upside Foods and GOOD Meat have indicated to FSIS that they initially plan to serve their cell-cultured poultry food products, not chickens, at specific restaurants only.” Subsequently, lab-grown chicken will not be available in supermarkets immediately. “Cell-cultured products will be clearly labeled and have “cell-cultured” or “cell-cultivated” in the product name,” the FSIS spokesperson further noted to Logically Facts.

Lab-grown or artificial food products are common topics of conspiracies and attract misleading and false information that has been previously checked and refuted by Logically Facts.

The verdict

The video does not show fake or lab-grown chicken meat. The string-like meat shown in the viral video is a muscular abnormality detected in fast-growing broiler meat. The loss of the integrity of the muscle fiber is most likely caused by industry pressures to grow broilers faster to match consumer habits. While the U.S. has permitted the sale of cell-cultured poultry food products, they are not currently available for consumer purchase. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

(Editors note: this article was updated on 14/9/2023 to add comment from Professor Parks Benson)

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