Relating beef production at farm level to human health, and the state of art of meat substitutes - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2016

Relating beef production at farm level to human health, and the state of art of meat substitutes


The healthiness of beef has recently come into question, mainly due to reported levels of saturated fatty acids (FA), its low content in n-3 polyunsaturated FA (n-3 PUFA), and variable trans-FA (TFA) content. These concerns, in addition to concerns regarding sustainability, animal welfare, and projected global food needs have led to increasing interest in meat substitutes, such as soy, wheat, mycoproteins and cell culture meat. However, conventional beef still provides many proteins and micro-nutrients which are beneficial for human health. There is usually a good n-6/n-3 ratio (~3), which is related to a wide range of health benefits due to the high levels of n−3 PUFA (e.g. α-linolenic acid and n-3 long chain PUFA), conjugated linoleic acids (such as the cis-9,trans-11 isomer) and TFA (such as the trans-11 18:1 isomer). Additionally, the n-6/n-3 ratio of beef can be further improved through dietary interventions on cattle with pasture, grass-silage or linseed. However, caution must be taken when increasing PUFA levels as they are susceptible to lipid oxidation result in rancidity, unpleasant tastes and odours, and the formation of toxic compounds which relate to colorectal cancer. These issues are being addressed with further dietary interventions using vitamins, trace elements and vegetable extracts rich in polyphenols which reduce the rate of PUFA oxidation. In this context, the health concerns regarding beef are relatively small when compared with emerging meat replacement technologies. For example, in vitro meat is an untested product and has multiple anticipated health concerns relating to the artificial hormones and growth factors, fungicides, and antibiotics required for cell culture. Therefore, while meat substitutes hold some promise for the future, consumer acceptance is uncertain due to considerable technical, economic and social constraints which mean conventional meat is still a healthy and viable product.
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hal-02739005 , version 1 (02-06-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02739005 , version 1
  • PRODINRA : 371230


Jean-François J.-F. Hocquette, Dominique Gruffat, Denys Durand. Relating beef production at farm level to human health, and the state of art of meat substitutes. 67. Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production (EAAP), Aug 2016, Belfast, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-02739005⟩
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