Composition and Nutritional Value of Organic Beef

Abstract: Consumer awareness regarding the intake of beef of organic origin is strongly associated with the beneficial outcomes to human health, the environment and animal welfare. In this paper the effects of slaughter season and muscle type on the fatty acid composition, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomeric profile, total cholesterol, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene contents and nutritional quality of intramuscular fat in organic beef (n = 30) are reported for the first time. RESULTS: Organic beef showed a very low total lipid content, with seasonal changes in the levels of some fatty acids, CLA isomers, n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ratio, total cholesterol and beta-carotene. In addition, differences between longissimus lumborum (relatively red) and semitendinosus (relatively white) muscles were found for many fatty acids, specific CLA contents, many CLA isomers and both PUFA/saturated fatty acid (SFA) and n-6/n-3 ratios. However, in spite of the seasonal and carcass variations, all organic meats analysed had values of beef similar to pasture-fed cattle. CONCLUSION: From a nutritional perspective, organic meat from both slaughter seasons seems to have high CLA contents, PUFA/SFA and n-6/n-3 indices within the recommended values for the human diet. The data indicate that intramuscular fat in organic meat has a high nutritional value throughout the year. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry

Reference: Pestana, Jose M.; Costa, Ana S. H.; Martins, Susana V.; et al.(2012). Effect of slaughter season and muscle type on the fatty acid composition, including conjugated linoleic acid isomers, and nutritional value of intramuscular fat in organic beef. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 92(12): 2428-2435. Available online at: