1.5 Your Beef


Canadian beef is nutrient rich and is packed with 14 essential nutrients making it a positive choice for healthy eating.  With its natural, wholesome flavour, lean Canadian beef is safe and healthy.

  • Quick Glossary
  • 14 essential nutrients
  • Canada’s Food Guide

A 75 gram serving of trimmed beef contains only 170 calories, but a full 26 grams of protein. Beef is one of the richest sources of complete protein. Unlike most plant proteins, beef delivers the full nine essential amino acids in the amounts your body needs to build and repair itself. Protein is critical throughout the life cycle: for growth in childhood, for energy and vitality in adulthood and for healthy aging later in life.

With beef, the fat is mostly visible so you’re in control of how much you eat. When trimmed of visible fat, beef is a lean, high quality protein. Lean beef fits into a lower-fat diet. On average, men can have 90 grams of fat a day, and women can have 65 grams. A 75 gram serving of cooked, trimmed beef has just 6.3 grams of fat. The amount of fat in a serving of trimmed beef is similar to other healthy choices like a serving of skinless chicken or an egg.

Beef is a nutrient rich food – bite for bite, nutrient-rich foods provide the most nutrients for the fewest calories. Beef serves up 14 essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, protein and B vitamins. Beef pairs perfectly with traditional sides like vegetables and whole grains, making it easy to have a healthy, balanced diet, in-line with Canada’s Food Guide.
•    Beef has 2.4 times more iron, 6 times more B12 and 7.5 times more zinc compared to an equal serving of chicken breast
•    About half of the fat in beef is unsaturated, most of it the same type found in olive oil
•    102 almonds is equal to the amount of protein in 75g cooked beef
•    Beef is one of nature’s richest sources of iron. A 100 gram serving of lean beef provides almost four times as much iron as a cup of raw spinach.

To help babies get enough iron, guidelines from Health Canada now recommend introducing iron-rich foods at six months of age. This differs from the past practice of introducing infant cereal, vegetables and fruit first.

Iron is essential for maintaining energy because iron helps carry the oxygen a body’s cells need for energy. Not getting enough iron can result in fatigue and irritability.

Some foods deliver more of the iron needed than others. Red meats like beef, as well as poultry, seafood and fish are the only sources of heme iron – the kind of iron that is absorbed best. Plant foods such as dark leafy greens (like spinach) provide non-heme iron – the kind of iron that is not as easily absorbed.


Food Safety & Food Handling:

Cleanliness is key. Washing hands thoroughly before, during and after cooking is essential, especially when switching between handling different foods. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds.

  • Quick Glossary
  • digital instant-read food thermometer
  • Mechanical tenderization

Keep things cool. Don’t bring meats up to room temperature before grilling or thaw at room temperature. This is a common ‘cooking show’ recommendation that has no benefit and creates a risk of promoting the growth of harmful bacteria. Keep foods chilled in the fridge at 4°C until ready to cook, even when marinating.

Cook meats and poultry to proper safe temperature using a food thermometer to measure doneness. Cooking by colour is not a reliable way to know when meats are done. Use a digital instant-read food thermometer to test for doneness. It provides the assurance that meat has reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

Use different cooking utensils when switching between cooked and raw foods or wash thoroughly when switching. When using the barbecue tongs for flipping meat during cooking, be sure to wash them before using them to take foods off the grill to serve. Alternatively, have two pairs of tongs – one for raw and one for cooked. The same goes for cutting boards and lifters.

Mechanical tenderization can be done in-home or before sale as a way to improve the tenderness and overall eating quality of meat. It involves cutting through the muscle fibres and connective tissue before cooking. Mechanical tenderization in-home can be as basic as piercing meat all over with a fork before marinating. Mechanical tenderizing is not used by all processors or retailers or with all beef cuts.

Needled beef is a type of mechanical tenderization uses a set of fine needles to pierce the roast or steak. Ask the meat counter staff if they carry beef that is mechanically tenderized as sometimes it is not obvious. With needling, the meat looks virtually the same as meat that has not been tenderized.

Jaccarding is a term used in reference to a specific needle tenderizing device (made by Jaccard). Cubing, delicating and pounding are other mechanical methods used to improve the tenderness of beef cuts both at home and for sale. With cubing, small blades on rollers are run over the steak surface giving it a ‘chopped’ look and texture.

Food Safety & Food Handling:

Final Beef Advocacy Thoughts

Canadian beef brings with it a brand promise- that the beef you are buying is some of the best in the world. As you read in the First Chapter of this course, our Brand Promise is a commitment by the entire industry:


The Canadian beef industry has a rich heritage and tradition, produced with integrity by people who are recognized as world leaders in quality and safety.  Canadian beef is raised and processed here in Canada with a strong commitment to stewardship.  We are passionate about Canadian beef.

We hope after learning about the Canadian beef industry, you will be too.

Final Beef Advocacy Thoughts