Nutritional Benefits from Fatty Acids in Organic and Grass-Fed Beef

Foods. 2022 Feb 23;11(5):646. doi: 10.3390/foods11050646.


Livestock production is under increasing scrutiny as a component of the food supply chain with a large impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Amidst growing calls to reduce industrial ruminant production, there is room to consider differences in meat quality and nutritional benefits of organic and/or pasture-based management systems. Access to forage, whether fresh or conserved, is a key influencing factor for meat fatty acid profile, and there is increasing evidence that pasture access is particularly beneficial for meat’s nutritional quality. These composition differences ultimately impact nutrient supply to consumers of conventional, organic and grass-fed meat. For this review, predicted fatty acid supply from three consumption scenarios were modelled: i. average UK population National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) (<128 g/week) red meat consumption, ii. red meat consumption suggested by the UK National Health Service (NHS) (<490 g/week) and iii. red meat consumption suggested by the Eat Lancet Report (<98 g/week). The results indicate average consumers would receive more of the beneficial fatty acids for human health (especially the essential omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid) from pasture-fed beef, produced either organically or conventionally.

Keywords: conventional; fatty acids; nutritional quality; organic; pasture-fed; ruminant nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review