Study shows consumers find grass-fed beef acceptable

Aug 04, 2008

High feed-grain prices and the growing interest in "natural" foods have spurred both consumers and farmers to consider grass-fed beef, and a recent study done by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers may reinforce this trend.

According to John Comerford, associate professor of dairy and animal science, the study showed that most consumers find the taste and tenderness of grass-fed beef acceptable in blind taste tests. He recommends that producers look for ways to interest more potential customers in grass-fed beef.

"There are also some important human health benefits related to components of grass-finished beef," said Comerford, who oversees the University's beef research and extension programs. "While there is no difference in the cholesterol content of grass-and grain-finished beef, and the limited amount of conjugated linoleic acid in cooked steaks is too small to do much for human health, there is still an advantage in the increased omega-3 fat content in grass-fed beef."

Emily Steinberg, who recently completed her master's degree in the Department of Dairy and Animal Science, conducted consumer evaluations of cooked grass-fed beef steaks and analyzed production issues for farmers. Her work suggests that some of the preconceived notions held by farmers about the physical type of the cattle and the length of the grazing season needed for high-quality grass-fed beef may not be true.

"The results of the study showed that most consumer evaluations of the cooked meat were not influenced by frame sizes of the cattle, weight at harvest, range of grazing period from 120-180 days, and final fat composition of the carcass," Comerford explained. "However, all of the cattle must have plenty of high-quality forage to consume daily plus be harvested at 18 months of age or less. None of the production practices or consumer values studied were related to the final fatty acid profiles or cholesterol content of the steaks.”

Comerford notes that these results give grass-fed beef producers tremendous flexibility in the kind of cattle they feed and the way they market their cattle. "Not surprisingly, we found finishing productive, healthy cattle on good pastures and stored forages for at least 120 days is far more important to consumer acceptance of the product than cattle's frame size or how fat the animals are.

"In fact, we found cattle that had the fattest final carcasses actually had lower scores from the consumer panels because of the influence of fat on beef flavor," Comerford said. "Further research will attempt to reduce the inconsistency of consumer scores for many traits of the meat by post-harvest interventions such as marinades and carcass aging."

Source: Penn State

Explore further: Ex-Iowa State scientist gets prison for faking HIV research

Related Stories

Hubble view: Wolf-Rayet stars, intense and short-lived

1 hour ago

This NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Hubble Space Telescope picture shows a galaxy named SBS 1415+437 (also called SDSS CGB 12067.1), located about 45 million light-years from Earth. SBS 1415+437 is a Wolf-Rayet ...

Five properties of physics that affect your gas mileage

1 hour ago

Physics is inescapable. It's everywhere, making your Frisbees fly, your toilets flush and your pasta water boil at a lower temperature at altitude. We've harnessed these forces, along with chemistry and engineering, ...

Recommended for you

Lady, you're on the money

13 hours ago

So far, women whose portraits appear on U.S. money have been a party of three. Excluding commemorative currency, only Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony and Helen Keller appear on coins in general circulation, according ...

Another five things to know about meta-analysis

Jul 01, 2015

Last year I wrote a post of "5 Key Things to Know About Meta-Analysis". It was a great way to focus – but it was hard keeping to only 5. With meta-analyses booming, including many that are poorly done or ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

conservo
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2008
This article from Nov. 2006 answers the question in more palatable terms.
http://www.slate....2152674/
nilbud
not rated yet Aug 25, 2008
This is lunacy "acceptable", you can't feed beef on anything but grass, they can't digest corn and the reason they have all those stomachs is to handle grass. Fat is meant to be yellow not white.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.