The key difference between poultry and meat is that poultry is birds’ flesh, whereas meat is animal flesh used for human consumption.
Meat is rich in proteins and fats. It can be eaten raw. But usually, it is eaten after cooked. Meat gets spoilt quickly due to fungi or bacterial reactions. Therefore, if they are not handled, cooked, marketed or stored properly, it will lead to various foodborne diseases due to the infections. Poultry and meat are key elements in religions because they are used in various celebrations, and there are different beliefs and rules based on these, which are unique to each religion.
What is Poultry?
Poultry is domesticated birds kept by humans for their meat, eggs, or their feathers. It is also identified as white meat, which refers to bird meat. The word ‘poultry’ was derived from the French or Norman word ‘poule’, which was derived from the Latin word ‘pullus’, which means small animal. The birds in this group are members of the superorder Galloanserae (fowl), especially the order Galliformes, which include chickens, quails, and turkeys. This group also includes birds that are killed for their meat, such as young pigeons, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. This group does not include similar wild birds hunted for sport or food, which are known as game.
Poultry provides food rich in nutrients, especially proteins in high amounts and fats and fatty acids in low amounts. But 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 around the world. 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)
- 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 revolved 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. Then they began to rare birds for purposes like eggs, meat and plumage.
What is Meat?
Meat is animal flesh that is taken as food. This word was derived 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. These terms 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, normally, it is cooked before eating. There are numerous ways to cook and season the 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 birds’ flesh while the meat is animal flesh. Poultry typically tends to be leaner than other types of meat. In addition, poultry is less expensive than other meat. Chickens, quails, and turkeys are examples of poultry whereas pork, beef, mutton, veal, etc. are examples of popular meat.
The below infographic lists the differences between poultry and meat in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Poultry vs Meat
Poultry is birds’ flesh taken for human consumption. It 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 taken as poultry. Meat is animal flesh taken as food. These animal meat 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.
1. “Chicken-chicken-meat-raw-oven-food-4761000” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Cuts of meat at the Hintonburg Market (33700420143)” By Ross Dunn – (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia