The truth about green-flesh chicken – Is it really safe to eat?

It’s the unsettling piece of chicken that is enough to make your stomach turn – but poultry experts have set the record straight about the green flesh found in a Coles product earlier this week. 

A Victorian woman preparing for her weekend roast dinner got a shock when she cut open her supermarket-bought chicken to discover the flesh inside was a slimy green.

Posting a picture of the chicken, bought from Coles in an inner-city Melbourne suburb, the woman explained her horror at the discovery, describing it as “absolutely disgusting”.

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo7 News that the flesh was neither diseased nor poisoned and is in fact completely safe to eat, saying it usually happens from the bird flapping its wings too much – but social media users were less than convinced.

“Deep pectoral myopathy is a green discolouration of the flesh caused by swelling from oxygen deficiency in the muscle,” the Coles spokesperson said.


Green chicken flesh is safe to eat, Coles said after a woman posted this picture to Coles’ Facebook page. Source: Facebook

One customer said she was outraged. “We will not be buying from Coles after this,” she wrote on social media.

“Comes with free smooshed avocado,” wrote another.

Despite considerable doubts about the safety of the discoloured poultry from members of the public, University of Sydney’s Associate Professor from its Poultry Research Foundation, Peter Groves, supported Coles’ explanation, saying the green appearance “has nothing to do with salmonella or any other bacteria”.

“It looks horrible but it is not a food safety issue,” he told Yahoo7 News.

“This discolouration of the chicken is a condition called ‘deep pectoral myopathy’. It is caused by the muscle sheath on the deep pectoral muscle.”

Coles said they are happy to refund or replace anyone who finds the green flesh inside their chicken. Source: Getty

“It has nothing to do with salmonella or any other bacteria. It looks horrible but it is not a food safety issue. It used to be a major problem in turkeys and some meat chickens, especially large males, but has been improved by breeding over the last 10-15 years. You still see a few.”

Executive Director of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation Dr Vivien Kite concurred, saying “it occurs occasionally, but is not common”.

“While visually unappealing, chicken breast affected by green muscle syndrome is not associated with any infectious or harmful substances and, other than affecting the aesthetic appearance of the meat, there are no implications for food safety or taste,” she said.

Coles has continued to assure customers eating the chicken will not bring them any harm.

“If the chicken has been consumed, it is not harmful, but this is not how we want our chicken to reach our customers,” the Coles spokesperson said.

“We have strict quality standards that our poultry partners work to and this chicken should not have been packed.

“We are sorry on this occasion it has been missed and, as always, encourage customers to return any item that they’re not 100 per cent happy with to their nearest store for a full refund or replacement.”