Label savvy: New product health claims and labeling requirements

I know you are aware that there are lean red meat options, but based on my research alone, the choices are confusing. With the help of my neighborhood butcher, I have translated the USDA National Nutrient guide into a usable, butcher lingoed chart. Below you will find the nutrition facts based on USDA, but translated into the items you would see at a restaurant or buy at the market. Why the focus on red meat? These lean cuts are excellent sources of high quality protein, and provide significant amounts of B vitamins, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Of particular importance for many women is the fact that the type of iron found in red meat is more easily absorbed by the body then that found in vegetables, beans and grains; consuming lean beef along with these other foods can help our bodies absorb more iron from the non-meat foods. Below you will find two charts. The first displays nutrition information for items you will often find at a restaurant or a grocery store. The numbers are based on cooked meat, because the raw nutrition significantly varies from cooked. At home prepare these meats with no added fats, and you can always ask a waiter to have the chef do the same. The second chart contains only ground meat information. I have included two less common options: bison and ostrich. These “new” red meats are becoming more popular as Americans become seemingly more health conscience. For each generic choice of ground meat, I have included its commercial brand burger. The information is based on raw meat, in order to easily compare the generic and commercial brands. Cooking these meats does not significantly change its nutritional values.
Ideal Red Meat Options (4 oz. cooked, boneless)
Calories
Fat (g)
Protein (g)
Iron (g)
Sirloin Steak
200
6
34.5
2.17
Filet Mignon
235
10.5
33.5
2.21
Veal Cutlet
235
7.5
38.5
1.4
Leg of Lamb
235
10.5
32
2.5
Pork Chop
193
6
32.5
0.77
Ideal Ground Meat/Burger Options (4 oz. UNCOOKED)
Beef (90% lean ground sirloin)
200
11.3
23
2.5
Laura’s 92% Lean Ground Beef Burgers, sold at Gristede’s
160
9
21
3.6
Bison (ground top sirloin)
128
3
24
3.4
Silver Mountain Farms Bison Burgers, sold at Gristede’s
170
9
22
2.7
Ostrich (ground tenderloin)
139
4
25
5.51
Better Burger NYC ‘s Ostrich Burgers *cooked
155
5
28
n/a

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