Researcher finds way to turn dark chicken meat into white

by 5m Editor
29 August 2005, at 12:00am

ATLANTA — Daniel Fletcher has found a way to transform dark meat chicken into white, a scientific advance some purists say has gone too far. &quot;Leave chicken alone,&quot; said Mary Raczka, who&#39;s in charge of hospitality at Mary Mac&#39;s Tea Room, a prominent Southern-style restaurant in midtown Atlanta that serves more than 500 pounds of fried chicken a week — dark and white meat. But Fletcher, a University of Georgia poultry science professor, said his other white meat isn&#39;t designed to compete with real thing on restaurant menus or grocery shelves. Instead, it&#39;s a filler that can be used to add protein and amino acids to something else, such as chicken nuggets. The recipe involves adding excess water to ground-up dark meat to create a kind of meat soup, then spinning the mixture around in a tub at high speed. The centrifugal force makes the mixture settle into layers of fat, water, and extracted meat, which can be molded into breast-like patties of all-white meat. When food specialist Marion Nestle heard about Fletcher&#39;s work, she immediately compared the end product to imitation crab meat made from minced fish. &quot;Surimi! This is chicken surimi! For the purpose of creating chicken-like objects ... yuck!&quot; said Nestle, a food studies professor at New York University. Fletcher said Nestle&#39;s reaction is typical, but he has a ready response: &quot;There&#39;s a lot of good eating experiences you may have had in your life that you wouldn&#39;t think were as good if you read the label.&quot; Hot dogs, made of minced chicken, pork, beef and other meat byproducts, are a primary example. But millions of people devour these pressed, squeezed and extremely processed food products each year. &quot;It tastes like something you would use with Hamburger Helper,&quot; Fletcher acknowledged after nibbling a sample of his faux white meat. &quot;It&#39;s a very neutral flavor. In some ways, it&#39;s like tofu. Tofu is something with so little character that if you eat it by itself, it&#39;d put you to sleep.&quot; <i>Source: USA Today</i>

5m Editor