Publication Details

This article was originally published as Williams, PG, Droulez, V, Levy, G and Stobaus, T, Composition of Australian red meat 2002. 1. Gross composition, Food Australia, 58(4), 2006, 173-181.


This study aimed to update data on the gross composition Australian red meat to reflect changes in butchering practices since the 1980s and 1990s when the current values were derived. Australian retail samples of fifteen beef, eleven 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. For both raw and cooked samples, mean external fat width (mm) was measured and the average percentage of separable internal, external and total fat, lean and waste was determined by dissection of each cut. For raw beef, total separable fat varied from 1% to 12% and for lamb and mutton from 2% to 22%. All veal cuts tended to be lean: 6% fat in the cutlets and less than 2% in the other cuts. There was great variability in the internal separable fat content of cuts but the majority in a selected sub-sample of visually lean red meat cuts had less than 5% total separable fat with no cut containing more than 10%. External fat width was not a good predictor of total separable fat in cooked red meat cuts except for round and rump steak. The separable fat of red meat in 2002 was lower than that reported in the 1980s.