Has your chicken been botoxed?

2010-12-23 00:00

THE widespread practice by Supreme Poultry, major supplier of frozen chicken to Pick n Pay and Shoprite, of selling rotten sanitised chicken* is positively evil according to some.

Others, however, will tell you wild birds are at their best when they are half rotten — when the bird starts falling off its tail feathers on which it is hung to “age”. Anyway this practice, like the ageing of wild birds, no doubt, has been a standard procedure for a while and is perpetrated with the full knowledge and approval of the retailers mentioned.

Supreme Poultry will have us believe that the practice is perfectly safe and legal. According to the company a rotten or offish chicken can be revived by dunking it in the swimming pool, where the chlorine and the residential wee will attack the salmonella and other bacteria deadly to humans, and kill it off very effectively.

The swimming-pool treatment, rendering the chicken safe for human consumption, does nothing for the appearance of this long-dead bird, however, and to perk your poultry up a bit and make it presentable for the table, it is advised to inject it with brine. The brine treatment, I must stress, is optional and, like botox treatment, strictly cosmetic — it does nothing to the quality or taste of your chicken.

Consumers are nevertheless up in arms and not without reason. Knowing big business, they understand that there is a cost involved. Second-generation chicken needless to say, because of the special treatment with chlorine baths and the like, no doubt adds to the cost of chicken we see in the supermarket fridges.

Many selfish consumers believe they can administer the treatment at home, ignoring the fact that not all people have access to swimming pools. They do not consider the consequences for our society. Can you imagine the chaos if shoppers rock up in their thousands at public swimming pools wanting to dunk their poultry?

Anyway, the problem can be solved right at the supermarket. By thawing their frozen chicken every morning, spraying it with a chlorine solution, giving it a good soaking, and refreezing it, they, the supermarket, can realise extensive savings which they could pass on to the overburdened consumer.

The end product may lack the perkiness of a chicken that had the full treatment back at the factory but should be fine for everyday use when you cook for the family. Appearance does not really matter and it will help the cash-strapped consumer.

* Johan Matthee, a former production manager at Supreme Poultry, last week accused the company of “reviving” expired chickens with chlorine to reduce bacterial load and injecting them with brine.

A spokesperson for Country Bird, which owns Supreme Poultry, said: “Reworking of chickens returned by clients is permitted by law within certain guidelines and the product may be used for specified purposes after reworking, including human consumption, animal consumption or rendering.” — News 24.com.

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