Saturday, August 25, 2007

Meat back on menu

Australian families are turning back to "meat and three veg" as staple fare, according to a new study published in the Nutrition and Dietetics journal.

The study, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, reveals 88 per cent of Australian households eat red meat at least once a week, while 96 per cent put meat on the table every month.

Meat and Livestock Australia managing director David Thompson says the figure represents a small but significant change in eating habits, and there are a number of reasons behind it.

"People are becoming more aware of the health benefits of fresh food," Mr Thompson said.
"They're becoming disenchanted with processed food. They're responding by going back to more traditional food.

The study found that red meat plays a vital role in child development.

"The nutrients in red meat are so important for childhood development, particularly early childhood," Mr Thompson said.

"Red meat is the major deliverer of iron, zinc and vitamin B12 in our diets, and a little known fact is that it's also second only to seafood in omega-3."

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott lent his support to the study. "I have always enjoyed red meat," Mr Abbott said. "It's important to rehabilitate red meat as part of the Australian diet. Apart from anything else, red meat is an important Australian industry."

Australians consume 35 per cent of domestic production of red meat.

Japan and the United States are our biggest meat export destinations.

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