Publication Details

This article was originally published as Droulez, V, William, PG, Levy, G, Stobaus, T and Sinclair, A, Composition of Australian red meat 2002. 2. Fatty acid profile, Food Australia, 58(7), 2006, 335-341.


Australian retail samples of nine beef, six lamb, four veal and two mutton cuts were purchased from 10 retail outlets (butchers and supermarkets) in different socio-economic areas of Sydney and Melbourne. The lean and fat components were analysed for contents of total and individual fatty acids. The content of total fatty acids was less than 5g/100g edible meat in the lean component of all cuts analysed. Saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids comprised, on average, 40% and 42% respectively of total fatty acids in the lean component of red meat cuts. The saturated fatty acid content of the lean component of red meat cuts varied from 0.3g to 1.9g/100g edible meat. Trans fatty acids (18:1 trans) varied from 22mg/100g in lean veal to 123mg/100g in lean lamb. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly 18:2n-6, 20:4n-6, 18:3n-3, 20:5n-3 and 22:5n-3, ranged from 11% to 29% of total fatty acids. Levels of arachidonic acid ranged from 97mg/100g in lean mutton to 55mg/100g in lean veal. Docosapentaenoic acid content varied from 32mg/100g to 54mg/100g in the lean component of red meat cuts. There were no significant differences in the proportion of fatty acids between raw and cooked meat. Australian red meat, which is predominantly grass-fed, contains lower levels of total, saturated and trans fatty acids and higher levels of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids than meat from the UK or the US. Key words: Fatty acids; red meat, beef; veal; lamb; mutton; saturated fatty acid; monounsaturated fatty acid; polyunsaturated fatty acid; long chain omega 3 fatty acid; conjugated linoleic acid