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"White striping": association accuses, Lidl Italia responds

Animal rights dossier puts packaged chicken in the crosshairs, deemed "unhealthy and low in protein"

But at stake there would also be the question of animal welfare considered, according to the association, to be poor or non-existent in animals affected by the syndrome

Poultry meat is back in the eye of the storm. This time it is Lidl Italia that ends up in the pillory, in the crosshairs of a dossier by the Being Animali association which denounces the spread of the "white striping" syndrome in at least 90% of the chicken packages distributed in the German brand's Italian sales points. The study by the animal rights association was conducted between December 2023 and January 2024 on a sample of 603 packs of chicken breast from conventional farming under the Lidl brand, sold in 11 cities in Italy, from North to South.

Being Animals accuses Lidl of spreading labels that include words such as "certified product", "controlled supply chain", "use of natural light", "environmental enrichments to encourage natural behaviour", whereas in reality the vast majority of packaged chickens from Lidl present white stripes, precisely the "white striping", evident above all in whole chickens but often also in the breasts, as well as on the thighs. This, according toessereanimali, is associated with an increase in fat equal to 224%, which take the place of muscle fibers and therefore reduce the protein content.

The reply from the Italian branch of the German company is ready, which "clearly distances itself from the alarmist diffusion of such news, which is untrue and aimed exclusively at obtaining media visibility to the detriment of correct information for the consumer. The presence of white streaks on the breasts of chicken ('white striping') commonly available on the market, as reported by Lidl's suppliers and confirmed by the meat producers' trade association (UnaItalia), does not pose any risk to the consumer's health, it can only be partly attributable to the type of farming and is detected with negligible frequency".

The white streaks, according to the supermarket chain, would be "found in a percentage of less than 5%". Furthermore, Lidl Italia reiterates its "continuous and unchanged commitment to the development of better standards of animal welfare", which precedes the "campaigns launched byessereanimali" and which "translates, for example, into the adoption, in collaboration with its suppliers, of concrete actions to improve breeding practices and therefore offer an increasingly responsible assortment. The fresh unprocessed chicken meat sold in the brand's stores, for example", continues the note from Lidl Italia, "comes from suppliers which guarantee controlled and certified farms, in which natural light and environmental enrichments are used".

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EFA News - European Food Agency