A new Kansas State University study conducted by meat scientists has reported findings that indicates that Omega-3 enriched meat maintains its flavor, tenderness and shelf life just as well as meat that is not enriched with the beneficial fatty acid.
Now the question is why is this important? Researchers have been trying to figure out for years how to add Omega-3 fatty acids to animals’ diets without it negatively impacting consumer meat. In previous studies, adding omega-3 fatty acids to animals’ diets has led to poor results. Either the meat would undergo a faster rate of discoloration or generate an off-flavor.
This is important because consumers would be unwilling to buy and consume these omega-3 enriched meats if the omega-3 fatty acids are the primary cause of spoiling and lack of pleasant taste. This is also important purely from a capitalistic standpoint, as explained by KSU meat scientist John Gonzalez:
“The figure that has been thrown out in the history of meat science for the past 20 years is that $1 billion per year is lost just on meat being thrown away from being discolored. If you actually increase Omega 3’s and it has a negative effect, that’s a bad thing because you may be able to sell for a greater price, but you have to throw away more of your products.”
With Kansas State University’s recent findings, we may not need to be concerned about Omega-3 enriched-diets increasing food waste and leading to a loss of profits for businesses seeking to invest in Omega-3s for their animals. With the overall Omega-3 intake already at a low in the United States, studies focusing on the progress made experimenting Omega-3 enriched diets for animals used for consumer meat are important.
KSU tested meat from animals fed Omega-3’s in a patented process called LIPEX and developed by XFE Products of Des Moines, Iowa. The diet was fed to animals at Omega 3 Family Farms of Columbus, Nebraska. The meat scientists found that the Omega-3 fatty content in the consumer meat product increased by 178%.
Subsequent taste tests with trained panelists showed that there was no reported difference in the taste, color, tenderness, or shelf life of the meat. More research will probably need to be done on the Omega-3s impact on animals and the consumer meat product.
Omega-3 molecules are a critical component of every cell inside our body. We need omega-3s in order to function properly, but our bodies do not produce omega-3s. Multiple studies have been conducted on how the omega-3s found in fish oil positively affect the heart, brain, skin, joints, and eyes.
With further research done on consumer meat products enriched with Omega-3s, we are approaching a breakthrough that will make both consumers and retailers be happy with investing in omega-3s.