Chicken processors are to fight claims that fat content in broilers has risen dramatically.
Opponents of industrial chicken farming claim that chickens on sale in supermarkets contain more than twice the fat they did in the 1940s. The claims were aired recently in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary and in The Saturday Essay by scientist Dr Michael Crawford in last week’s The Grocer (p28).
The British Poultry Council disputes the figures quoted by the industry’s critics. Chief executive Peter Bradnock said this week that official government figures actually showed that fat content in chicken today was lower than in the 1970s. He said: “In 1978 there was 17.7% fat in a raw chicken with skin, compared with 13.9% in 1998. In 1978 there was 4.3% fat in raw chicken without skin, while in 1994 the figure was 2.1%.”
Bradnock said the BPC would form a working group of processors, feed nutritionists and primary breeders to draw up an accurate picture of the situation.
He said Dr Crawford, who wrote last week’s The Saturday Essay and appeared in Dispatches, “seems to have it in for chicken”.
He added: “What he’s doing is damaging. We’re very concerned.”