Cooking Meat effects on Fatty Acid Profiles in Consumed Grass-Finished Meat Products Session
We now move on to preparation of meat and milk products and how this affects fatty acid composition before it comes to the table. This was a two-part session. The first presentation dealt with how cooking meat affects fatty acid composition and consumer appeal. This session focused on some claims that cooking grass-fed and -finished meat negated any change in fatty acid composition that occurred due to finishing cattle on pasture rather than sending them to a feedlot where they are fed liberal amounts of grain. It is important to again look at the omega-6 (n-6) to omega-3 (n-3) ratio as it dramatically drops in the meat when cattle or sheep are finished on pasture and this remains so after the meat is cooked. It is also very important to know the type of pasture the livestock are finished on. If it is over-mature or drought-stricken cool season grass pasture or warm season grass pasture, then the n-6 to n-3 ratio may still be high, but grass-finished animals will still have a much lower ratio than the confinement finished livestock. A legume, cool season grass pasture grazed at the vegetative state before significant yellowing of older leaves occurs will produce n-6:n-3 ratios generally below 4.0. If the raw meat, before it is cooked, comes from livestock on poor quality cool season pasture or from warm season grass pasture, the ratio has already been set and more than likely will be above 4.0. If they were fed hay to keep them well-fed while on pasture, they were not finished prop-erly to get a desirable n-6:n-3 ratio. This ratio is more important than the amount of n-3 alone would have on the health of the person consuming grass-finished meat.
The second presentation was from the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL). They highlight the fat content and other nutrients in beef and the effect of cooking on these nutrients in some grass- and grain-fed lamb and beef cuts. They have been working with other institutions that test for fats and other nutrients in meats to build and compile a very comprehensive data base for people to study and share with other interested parties to get the facts on the nutritional value of meat products.
Carol L. Lorenzen*. Ph.D.
Janet Roseland*, Quynhanh Nguyen, Kristine Patterson, Pamela Pehrsson, Dale Woerner, Cody Gifford, Jennifer Leheska