Ostrich Meat Nutritional Value

Newsletter No. 72 - Item 1

This newsletter published in 2009 reported a request to the British Domesticated Ostrich Association (BDOA) received for the nutritional value of Ostrich Meat.  Quoting the words:

“I have seen the energy, fat and protein figures on the BDOA website. By any chance do you also have figures for carbohydrate and sodium? I am analysing some ostrich recipes we are using in our business and the food tables I use have no information on ostrich. Any further information would therefore be appreciated”.

The writer is a nutritionist from a very large catering organisation covering high end corporate entertainment, restaurants, company catering and canteens.   Companies of this size, as you can see from the message, normally obtain the nutritional information from published food tables.  Ostrich have insufficient volume to yet be included.  Ensuring this type of information is in the public domain and reliable, is a service an industry association, such as the WOA can provide.  However, to achieve the funding required to support such a service requires adequate support from the commercial members from the industry the association represents – they have to work in partnership.  Our industry has some way to go before we have sufficient volume of commercial companies of any size to achieve that – but that must be our goal.

Meat does not contain any meaningful levels of carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are found in grains, fruit and vegetables at levels that are important and can be very high.  I checked the different scientific papers I have with meat sodium levels.

To answer her question on sodium levels I found the lowest sodium figure was 43mg/100g and the highest recorded was 80mg/100g and many values in between those extremes.  One of the papers was published by Jaroslaw Horbanczuk and James Sales under the title of “Characteristics and Nutritive Value of Ostrich Meat with some references to the already recognised effects of feeding” that made this statement:

“The low sodium content of ostrich meat (43mg/100g) as compared to beef (63 mg) or chicken (77mg/100g (Sales and Hayes 1996) would be advantage for people who have to consume a low sodium diet..................”

Some years ago I found similar variations in papers on cholesterol levels in ostrich meat published by the same scientist.   When I asked the author the reason for these variations, he was not sure as he accepted using data from other papers as well as his own work.  He did comment that the variations can be dietary and that some was cooked meat and other was not.

This identifies the problem of papers that report results, but fail to qualify the details of the studies producing the referenced results.  This is true with many such documents and not confined to ostrich, but extremely prevalent in papers related to Ostrich because there are so few studies and many variables that influence the results.

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