It has long been recognised that, as part of a balanced, moderate diet, animal source foods
(ASFs) offer a wide range of benefits to human health. For many years our ancestors made ASFs
part of the human diet by following their basic human instinct to hunt and eat animal flesh in
order to survive. It is however important to understand that the challenges surrounding ASFs
consumption in South Africa are multi-faceted. South Africa is a country rich in diversity but
poor when it comes to the general populations’ health. With a high prevalence of malnutrition
in the forms of both under and over nutrition, it is clear that the consumption of adequate
amounts of nutrient dense foods such as ASFs, is often lacking in diets of many South Africans.
These nutrients include iron, zinc, high quality protein and B-vitamins.
Large parts of the South African population lives in poverty and cannot adhere to the current
national food-based dietary guidelines. One of these guidelines recommends that animal
source foods could be consumed every day. Affordable animal source foods, such as organ
meats (offal), and the potential nutritional contribution thereof were further investigated in
this study. This study found that all analysed lamb and mutton organ meats from the fifth quarter of the carcass have the potential to contribute significantly to selected nutrients that
were analysed and should be included in national dietary guidelines.
However assessing consumption of animal source foods (ASFs) and setting product specific
guidelines can be a challenging task without accurate quantitative data on the physical
composition, edible portions and yield factors of ASFs. Physical composition, edible portions
and yield factors of different cooked marketplace servings (retail cuts) of lamb, chicken, beef,
lamb offal, mutton offal and some processed meat products were determined in this study. This
study further demonstrated the use of this dataset as a tool when communicating product
specific and easy to understand dietary recommendations, set by the South African nutrition
fraternity. The tools and data compiled in this study can further be utilised by policy makers,
health professionals, the food service industry and economists to effectively evaluate, predict
and measure consumption of animal source foods in South Africa.