Lean red meat good choice at every stage of life, says UFU

Wednesday, 9 January, 2019

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is encouraging consumers to do their own research when it comes to the nutritional benefits of eating beef and lamb and to be aware of misleading, sometimes incorrect, ‘healthy eating’ advice from activist pressure groups.

Beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney says that in recent years, the UFU has become increasingly concerned about misinformation driving misconceptions about red meat, diets and health. “In this digital age, information is at our fingertips and we can all to do a bit of research to make informed choices.  Science shows that lean meat, such as beef and lamb, can be eaten as part of a healthy, balanced diet at every stage of life,” he said.

The UFU says lean red meat is a major source of protein and is nutritionally dense; the type of iron in red meat is more easily absorbed and used by the body than the iron in plant foods.  It is also a good source of zinc, which is important for the immune system, growth, wound healing, and fertility.

“Claims about high fat content in red meat are exaggerated. On average, fully trimmed raw beef contains just five per cent fat and fully trimmed lamb eight per cent.  About half the fat is unsaturated.  Red meat also provides a wide range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients,” he said.

As an award winning County Down beef farmer Mr Chesney says farmers here are rightly proud of the beef and lamb they produce and of the high animal welfare standards on their farms.  “Consumers can be confident when they buy Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef or lamb that they are getting a product that meets some of the world's toughest animal welfare and environmental standards.  Often information or video clips that seek to discredit our industry come from countries with much lower standards.  This is why I believe people should do their own research and make informed choices about what they eat,” he said.