Background Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA), especially the long chain (LC) n-3 PUFA, have
been accorded numerous health benefits. Fish is the primary food source of LC n-3 PUFA in Australian diets,
followed closely by meat.
Objective The aim of this study was to ascertain the contribution of different types of fish and seafood, meat and
poultry to LC n-3 PUFA intakes in the Australian diet.
Design The relative contributions of fish/seafood, beef, lamb, pork and poultry were assessed from the 24 hour
diet recall data of 13,858 people in the 1995 Australian National Nutrition Survey (NNS95).
Outcomes The results show that 80% of adults consumed less than 20g seafood per day and 55% consumed none
at all. However, almost half consumed more than 70g of red meat (beef or lamb) per day whilst 40-45% of people
did not consume pork or poultry. Fish/seafood, beef, poultry, lamb and pork contributes 46.7%, 22.4%, 10.4%,
5.9%, 4.0% respectively. For fish/seafood the contribution to LC n-3 PUFA intakes was canned fish (16.7%), fresh
lean fish (7.7%, mainly fried), fish meals (7.5%), other seafood (4.5%), fresh oily fish (4.3%) and processed fish
(1.5%, eg. fish patties). Beef, poultry, lamb were consumed primarily as a meat cuts (14%, 7.3%, 5.2%
respectively), followed by a stew/curry (5.9%, 1.4%, 0.6% respectively). Pork was consumed primarily as meat cut
(3.0%) followed by stir fry (0.3%). Poultry was consumed untrimmed (i.e. with the skin), whilst other cuts of meat
were consumed trimmed.
Conclusion Despite the low intake of fish/seafood, it is still the major contributor to LC n-3 PUFA intakes with
the main contributions being canned and fried fish. Various meat cuts also make a major contribution to LC n-3
PUFA intakes due to high consumption of meat by Australians.