Chicken parasite?
July 31, 2006 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Found a "worm" in a supermarket chicken! Is it fair game or foul play?

In the neck of a supermarket chicken, just under the skin, I found something that looks suspiciously like a worm or a parasite. I found one once before a few weeks ago and returned the chicken to the supermarket. Now, finding one again, I'd like to know what exactly it is, and if the chicken is safe to eat!

Here's a (gross!) picture of what remained of the anomaly (it's on the left, still attached to some skin) after being cut from the chicken. If it is a parasite, i'm assuming the head was lopped off in the cut and remains inside. I was thinking it could be a normal part of chicken anatomy, but the fact that I've only seen it twice raises my suspicion.
posted by nervestaple to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Having deboned countless cases of chickens, personally, I have never seen a parasite embedded in the neck.

Was the neck still attached to the bird or was it contained in a bag inside the cavity?
posted by sindas at 3:19 PM on July 31, 2006

I believe that's the chicken's trachea (windpipe). It probably shouldn't survive the gutting process but it did (twice).

Perhaps you could dry it out and make a flute or drinking straw from it.
posted by argybarg at 3:21 PM on July 31, 2006

If that's a worm, the infestation is fairly widespread.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:25 PM on July 31, 2006

Looks like a trachea to me as well. If you feel your own throat, you'll probably feel the (much larger) ridges visible in the photo.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:30 PM on July 31, 2006

That's definitely a trachea. Don't worry about it.
posted by emd3737 at 3:31 PM on July 31, 2006

My Moroccan husband, who has butchered more chickens than he can count (ew), says it's definitely the trachea. Though he calls it an "agarrt" = throat.
posted by Liosliath at 3:39 PM on July 31, 2006

It seems strange that the trachea would still be attached, but that's what this looks like. For all the chickens I've cut up, I've seen some with the neck still on it, but it's rare. Sometimes it gets missed in the process.

Definitely not any "fowl" play here. (That was lame, but I just had to...)
posted by BradNelson at 3:56 PM on July 31, 2006

Unless you were going to eat the neck, I wouldn't worry about it. I'd even use it in a soup. Have you ever checked out all the worms in the $17.00/lb swordfish? It's all protein, just make sure you cook it just enough. Buon appetito.
posted by sgobbare at 4:48 PM on July 31, 2006

As someone who's had an intense curiosity with parasites for decades, I can say that this is not a parasite... I have to agree with the trachea conclusion. Large worms in meat tissue are almost unheard of, though smaller ones do occur in sushi. Nothing like this.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:39 PM on July 31, 2006

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