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Chicken mince is minced or ground chicken parts. A person may use a mincing knife or a meat mincer or grinder, which may be powered manually with a hand crank or electrically. Some countries, such as the United States, have regulations and guidelines controlling chicken mince production. When people make minced chicken at home, they can determine what parts of the chicken they want to use. Often people substitute poultry mince for beef or pork mince to lower the fat content of the recipe.
In the United States, the National Turkey Federation (NTF) guidelines indicate that commercial food processors should use only the chicken muscle with all of its components, such as the skin and fat, and only in natural proportions. Usually, countries have no standards for the fat content, other than what fat naturally is connected to the muscle. Cooks at home usually discard excess fat for a leaner mince and may add other ingredients, such as the giblets or another type of meat.
Chicken mince is common in some cultures and gaining popularity in others. Traditionally, poultry minces were not popular in the United States until people sought to lower the saturated fat in their diet. In other regions, such as in Asian countries, it is a common ingredient in traditional recipes, such as the Laotian recipe for lap kai pa. This complicated recipe uses minced wild chicken, eggplant, and garlic.
Sometimes commercial processors irradiate the poultry minces, such as chicken or turkey, to improve the shelf life and reduce bacterial growth. A study of minced chicken in India evaluated irradiated and untreated mince and found that the irradiated mince had lower counts of Staphylcoccus spp. The irradiation had eliminated the fecal coliform, which is a serious contaminant.
Although the irradiation may be beneficial, there are additives, such as the gas sulfur dioxide, that sellers add to chicken mince that are not beneficial. Most of the chemicals help the meat retain a bright, fresh color and disguise the signs of aging. In most countries, it is illegal to add these chemicals. Some people are allergic to these chemicals, and they should buy meat from trustworthy butchers or retailers. Having chemical-free meat is another advantage of making a mince fresh for a meal.
Chicken mince has a much finer texture than beef mince, or ground beef. Some people prefer to shred the chicken instead of grinding it. When using a mincing knife, it is easier to make a custom mince. A mincing knife has one or two curved blades, and a butcher uses a rocking motion to mince the meat. The color of the mince depends on the type of meat used, and breast meat is lighter in color, whereas thigh and leg meat is a darker red.
People on a soft diet usually can have poultry mince, such as chicken or turkey. Another popular use is for baby food. A cook should always cook minced poultry thoroughly to prevent food-borne illness. Often homemade pet food recipes call for chicken mince.