Difference Between Poultry & Meat

The main distinction between poultry and meat is that poultry refers to the flesh of birds, while meat pertains to the flesh of animals consumed by humans. Both poultry and meat are rich in proteins and fats, and are key elements in various religious celebrations, beliefs, and rules.

Key Takeaways

  • Poultry consists of domesticated birds like chickens, quails, and turkeys, and is also known as white meat; it tends to be leaner than other types of meat.
  • Meat refers to the flesh of mammalian species such as pigs, cattle, and lambs, and includes specialized terms for the meat of specific animals, like pork, beef, and mutton.
  • Both poultry and meat can be susceptible to bacterial infections and spoilage if not properly handled, cooked, marketed, or stored, which may lead to foodborne illnesses.

What is Poultry?

Poultry includes domesticated birds kept by humans for their meat, eggs, or feathers. The term “poultry” is derived from the French or Norman word “poule,” which comes from the Latin word “pullus,” meaning small animal. Birds in this group are members of the superorder Galloanserae (fowl), particularly the order Galliformes such as chickens, quails, and turkeys. This group also encompasses birds that are killed for their meat, including young pigeons, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl, but does not include similar wild birds hunted for sport or food, known as game.

Poultry provides food rich in nutrients, particularly proteins in high amounts and fats and fatty acids in low amounts. However, it has been discovered that around 47% of the poultry sold in United States grocery stores are contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. There is also the risk of bacterial infections such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. Therefore, if the food is not handled, cooked, processed, marketed, or stored properly, bacterial infections may lead to foodborne illness. In addition, birds can cause the influenza A virus.

Poultry is a widely eaten meat worldwide. The global poultry market increased by 6% to US$ 231.5 billion in 2019. The countries with the highest volumes of poultry consumption in 2019 are China (20 million tonnes), the US (19 million tonnes), and Brazil (12 million tonnes).

Poultry domestication began around 5,400 years ago in Southeast Asia. This began as a result of people hatching and rearing young birds from eggs collected from the wild. This later evolved to keeping the birds permanently in captivity. At first, domesticated chickens were used for cockfighting and quails were kept for their songs. Then people gradually realized the usefulness of having a captive-bred source of food. They began to rear birds for purposes like eggs, meat, and plumage.

What is Meat?

Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. The word “meat” comes from the Old English word “mete,” which refers to food. Meat typically refers to the flesh of mammalian species such as pigs, cattle, and lambs, which are raised and prepared for human consumption. There are specialized terms for the meat of particular animals, which originated in 1066 with the Norman conquest of England. While the animals retained their English names, their meat, when brought to the tables, were identified with the Norman French words for the respective animal.

Examples of Meat:

– Pork – the meat of pigs
– Beef – the meat of cattle
– Veal – the meat of calves
– Mutton – the meat of sheep
– Venison – the meat of deer

With the domestication of animals such as cattle, sheep, rabbits, and pigs, they were used in meat production on an industrial scale. Generally, meat consists of water, protein, and fat. Though it can be eaten raw, it is usually cooked before eating. There are numerous ways to cook and season meat at present. Because of bacteria and fungi, unprocessed meat gets spoiled or rotten within a few hours or days. Meat is important in the economy and culture. Many religions have either rules or beliefs about eating or not eating meat.

What is the Difference Between Poultry and Meat?

The key difference between poultry and meat is that poultry is the flesh of birds, while meat is the flesh of animals. Poultry typically tends to be leaner than other types of meat and is less expensive. Chickens, quails, and turkeys are examples of poultry, whereas pork, beef, mutton, veal, etc., are examples of popular meat.

Summary – Poultry vs Meat

Poultry is the flesh of birds taken for human consumption and is also referred to as white meat. It is leaner than meat. Birds such as turkey, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, quail, chicken, and pigeons are considered poultry. Meat is the flesh of animals taken as food. These animal meats are identified using different names when they are cooked. Meat is available mostly in cuts. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between poultry and meat.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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