Meat Nutrient Facts

The meat industry has taken an aggressive role in working to solve the basic issue of delivering products to consumers that maintain a high nutrient content, yet have lower levels of fat. These efforts have included initiatives at the production, retail and product-development levels.

Leaner animals are now being raised as a result of advanced feeding, genetics and management practices.

And leaner cuts are being provided directly to consumers because of closer trimming at the retail level. For example, the National Beef Market Basket Survey, conducted in 1987, showed that the beef sold at retail had 27 percent less separable fat than in the late '70s and early '80s. The survey found that at retail, the average thickness of fat around the edge of steaks and roasts was reduced from half -inch to less than an eighth of an inch, with over 40 percent of the cuts having no external fat at all. A follow-up survey in 1990 showed continued reductions in fat on beef sold at retail.

To meet the growing consumer demand for lower-fat products, the beef industry has teamed with researchers to develop low-fat ground beef technologies. The resulting 3-ounce serving of low-fat ground beef (7 grams of fat) product is more than 50 percent lower in fat content, without a loss of flavor and texture. It has the similar juicy eating properties of higher-fat products, yet satisfies consumers’ desire for leaner, more nutritious foods.

This educational material developed in cooperation with the American Heart Association.
This health educational material has been reviewed favorably by the
American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Based on the most recent revisions of USDA Handbook 8-13, Composition of Foods: Beef Products (1990) and USDA Handbook 8-10, Composition of Foods: Pork Products (1992) documenting significant changes in the total and saturated fatty acid content of beef and pork products.