Scientists Fortifying Beef With Healthy Omega-3s

Health-conscious consumers might be persuaded to eat more beef if it was fortified with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids naturally found in salmon and walnuts, according to researchers and some ranchers who are feeding cattle flaxseed – even marine algae – with an eye to offering another wholesome dinner choice.

People have long been told they can decrease their risk of heart disease by eating more omega-3 fatty acids, the kind salmon get from algae. It inspired researchers at Kansas State University: Could the steaks and hamburgers from cattle fattened on algae pass on those healthy fats?

Separately, some Texas grocery stores are selling beef products fortified with omega-3 through flaxseed, a trial run so successful that orders have quadrupled since it began seven months ago. And a nationwide study shows consumers would be willing to pay $1.85 a pound more for enriched steaks and 79 cents a pound more for enhanced ground beef, Kansas State agricultural economist Sean Fox said.

After putting a pot roast into her shopping basket at a Wichita grocery store, 31-year-old Lindsey Goodwin considered that very question. “Probably, it kind of depends on the price,” she said.