Is Lamb Considered Red or White Meat?
The classification of meat into red or white categories is based on the color of the muscle fibers in the meat. Red meat is the muscle meat of mammals rich in myoglobin. Myoglobin is an iron-containing protein that binds oxygen to keep it in the muscle tissue. Myoglobin is the pigment that gives red meat its distinct dark color when exposed to oxygen. Red meat is also defined as the meat of all livestock except poultry.
Lamb is the meat from a sheep less than one-year-old. Like beef and pork, lamb has a relatively high myoglobin content, giving it a reddish color and categorizing it as red meat. Meat from sheep older than the age of one is called mutton. Sheep is one of the oldest domesticated meat species (1).
Based on these two definitions, lamb is classified as red meat (1).
However, compared to beef, lamb is lower in myoglobin and iron but higher in saturated fats. Naturally, lamb contains more myoglobin and iron than white meats, such as chicken and fish.