General Discussion 12

Is there a limit to percentage of fat in ground lamb?

drongo | Dec 25, 2014 05:48 AM

Is there a limit to the percentage fat in “ground lamb” sold in the supermarkets? I recently bought a pound of ground lamb (country of origin not specified, so I assume USA) to make merguez sausage (Pierre Franey recipe, first link below). I reduced the recipe by 2/3, so added 2 tsp of olive oil to the mix and added no more than 1 tablespoon to the skillet. When I cooked the sausage, I quickly accumulated about ¼-inch of fat in a large skillet. So much fat was rendered from just 1 pound of ground lamb that I estimate the ground lamb must have contained about 50% fat.

Is there an expectation on the amount of fat in ground lamb? Ground beef is typically specifically labeled “80% lean”, “85% lean”, etc – and when I check the USDA database (second link below) “80% lean” is indeed listed as 20 g fat/100 g and “85% lean” is listed as 15 g fat/100 g. The USDA database has 3 entries for raw ground lamb – for domestic, Australian, and New Zealand lamb. The amounts of fat listed for domestic, Australian, and New Zealand ground lamb are respectively 23.4 g, 20.7 g, 12.4 g per 100 g. Quite a wide variation, but nowhere near my estimate of 50% fat in my ground lamb.

So my question is: are there any rules regarding percentage of fat in ground lamb?

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