Enriched Foods through Flax Feed
Flax contains a large amount of alpha-linolenic fatty acid (ALA). ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid essential to human health. Food experts have found omega-3’s are in short supply in many diets, which has led to the development of foods with more omega-3 fats. Livestock and poultry producers add flax to feed for the production of foods with more omega-3’s, such as meat and eggs.
You can increase the content of healthy fats in meat products by adding flax to animal feed. Research of flax in cattle rations has found improvements in both carcass and meat quality. In the future, flax may play a role in the production of premium beef cuts.
Several researchers have also looked at adding flax to dairy cows’ diets to alter the fats in the milk they give; however, more research is needed before feeding flax to dairy cattle becomes a commercial reality. Instead of enriching milk through feed, food manufacturers are adding flax oil to dairy products like milk and yogourt to increase the omega-3 content.
DID YOU KNOW? The typical Canadian dairy farm has 68 cows, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Holstein is the most common dairy breed.
For information on enhancing the fat profile of milk and beef, click on links below:
Background Information on Key Fats in Milk and Beef – Polyunsaturated fatty acids are those with two or more double bonds in their carbon backbone; they have many vital roles in human health. Dairy and beef producers are interested in increasing the content of two polyunsaturated fats in milk and beef products – namely, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) because these fats are important in human nutrition … more
Adding Linseed to Feed Enhances the Fat Profile of Milk – The fact that ruminants digest their food in two stages presents challenges for dairy cattle and goat farmers, the main one being that rumen bacteria cannot easily metabolize some fatty acids, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the essential omega-3 fatty acid. Various methods of interfering with the bacterial metabolism of long-chain fatty acids in dairy cattle and goats have been tried… more
Adding Linseed to Feed Enhances the Fat Profile of Beef – Several approaches have proven successful in protecting polyunsaturated fatty acids from biohydrogenation in the rumen. These methods have achieved favourable changes in the fatty acid content of beef… more
Omega-3 Enhanced Pork, a branded pork meat produced and sold in Manitoba, comes from hogs raised on strictly-controlled diets, rich in flax and vitamins. Analyses of the meat show the omega-3 fat content of the meat ranges from 0.4 g to 2.0 g of omega-3 fat/100 g of pork. Produced and sold by Prairie Orchard Farms of Manitoba, Omega-3 Enhanced Pork is liked by local chefs, who praise the taste, texture, and juiciness of the meat.
Flax has been very successfully added to the rations of laying hens, resulting in the production of omega-3 enriched eggs. These nutritionally-enhanced eggs are prominent in supermarket dairy cases.
Adding flax to poultry diets increases the level of omega-3 fatty acids in the meat, resulting in high quality, wholesome omega-3 enriched chicken and turkey meat.