Incidence of broiler breast myopathies at 2 different ages and its impact on selected raw meat quality parameters
White striping (WS) and woody breast (WB) are 2 poultry meat quality defects that affect the acceptance of raw breast fillets as well as properties of cooked and further processed products. The present study was intended to evaluate the incidence of these conditions in broilers at different ages and to compare the properties of fillets with different degrees of WS and WB. For this study, 1,920 birds were processed, at 6 and 9 wk of age, in a standard commercial inline processing system. After chilling, carcasses were deboned and butterfly fillets were collected and weighed. Individual fillets were scored for normal, moderate, severe, and very severe degrees of WS and WB, and for petechial hemorrhagic lesions (PHEM, 0 - no lesion to 2 - severe lesion). Representative fillets with NORM-WS/WB, SEV-WS, SEV-WB, and SEV-WS/WB were selected and stored at 4°C. After 24 h, fillet length, width, cranial height, and caudal height, as well as pH, color, and drip loss were recorded. There was an increase in incidence of severe and very severe WS and WB conditions at 9 wk compared to 6 wk of age. The relationship between fillet weight and the myopathies plateaued at 9 wk of age with more fillets showing a higher score. Mean PHEM scores were higher (P < 0.05) in SEV-WS, SEV-WB, and SEV-WS/WB compared to NORM-WS/WB birds, both at 6 and 9 weeks. NORM-WS/WB birds had lower (P < 0.05) live and breast weight, breast yield, and cranial and caudal heights, as well as b* value (yellowness) compared to SEV-WS/WB. NORM-WS/WB had lower (P < 0.05) pH while NORM-WS/WB and SEV-WS samples showed lower (P < 0.05) drip loss when compared to SEV-WB and SEV-WS/WB. The results from this study showed that the severe degrees of WS and WB are associated with heavier and older birds, and thicker breast fillets. Occurrence of severe degrees of WS and/or WB can affect various raw meat quality factors, mainly color and water holding capacity.