Have questions about poultry? The USDA has answers on its “Chicken from Farm to Table” webpage. It provides information on a range of poultry topics, from the types of chickens you can find in grocery stores (including broiler-fryers, roasters, capons, and baking hens) to chicken grading to hormone and antibiotic use in poultry to chicken cooking times.
Ever wonder, for instance, what the pinkish juice in the packages is? (It’s not blood but rather mostly myoglobin, a water-soluble protein found in muscle cells) Or why chicken skin varies in color? (That’s due to the type of feed and is not an indication of nutrition, quality, fat content, or flavor.) Did you know that no hormones are allowed to be used in the raising of chickens? Or that washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended? (Doing so can spread bacteria to kitchen surfaces and utensils if the poultry juices splatter.)
As part of its “Farm to Table” series, the USDA similarly answers questions about beef.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Defrosting Meat and Poultry.