Shoppers are being fobbed off with low-quality chicken pumped full of chemicals, water and even pig skin.
About 40 per cent of the imported chicken sold by catering suppliers undergoes heavy processing.
The meat that results is so rubbery and tasteless it is known in the trade as ‘plastic chicken’.
Huge quantities are involved – about 60,000 tons a year – in what amounts to a massive food fraud.
Most of the meat comes from processors in Holland and Belgium, who bring in cheap chickens from Thailand and pump the meat with a chemical mix.
The treatment is now so sophisticated that what seems like a fresh, plump chicken breast might be only 51 per cent meat.
Much of the plastic chicken goes to curry houses, Chinese restaurants and takeaways, often disguised with highly- spiced sauces and colourings. There are concerns that some is sold to small butchers, while supermarket foods could also include suspect supplies.
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