Poultry Researchers Tackle Woody Breast Syndrome

Carrie Muehling

A growing problem for the poultry industry is woody breast syndrome, a muscle myopathy that affects the most popular cut of poultry.

While it doesn’t pose any harm to the consumer or the bird, it results in a product that is not palatable. In 2017, woody breast syndrome cost the U.S. poultry industry an estimated $200 million. Due to changes in government regulations, that number could grow to $500 million in losses in 2018. The problem is even more prevalent in European countries and in Brazil. Researchers are still trying to identify a cause.

“We need to look at this issue from a multi-faceted approach,” said Dr. Rebecca Delles, an Alltech research scientist who presented at ONE 18: The Alltech Ideas Conference. “I think everybody has been hoping for this silver bullet to solve every single issue, but we’re not going to see it. It’s probably not going to happen. We need geneticists to work with us, we need the managers of these poultry farms to work with us, and ultimately, we also need to reexamine the nutrition and what we’re feeding these birds and how we’re raising them to solve this issue.”

Delles said meat scientists are collaborating across the globe to address woody breast syndrome, as poultry is now the number one meat consumed worldwide. They believe genetics play a part, but are not the sole cause of the problem. Other factors may include hatchery conditions, management, and diet.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dr. Delles here: Interview with Dr. Rebecca Delles, Alltech

ONE 18: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

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