Yes, you can eat alpaca. Alpaca meat is tasty, nutritious, safe to eat, and is eaten in many countries worldwide.
While alpaca meat consumption will likely never be as popular as other meats we consume in the Western world, which is mainly due to it not being particularly economical to raise alpacas just for meat, if you ever get the chance to try alpaca meat you definitely should!
3 Reasons Why You Should Eat Alpaca
- Delicious: At the top of the list of why you should eat alpaca is of course its taste. Simply put, alpaca meat is delicious
- Safe to Eat: Alpaca isn’t a new delicacy. It has been eaten for centuries, especially in South America throughout the Andes mountains, where alpacas have played a very important role for their meat and fibers.
- Healthy: Alpaca meat is not only one of the flavorful meats you can eat, but it is also hands down one of the healthiest meats you can eat too
Alpaca Meat Taste
Alpaca meat is very lean, tender, and tastes similar to beef but is sweeter. It manages to have all the best parts of other meat, like the taste of beef and the health benefits of poultry.
Alpaca has served as one of the oldest food sources of the Incan’s and pre-Incans and still remains popular in South America to this day due to its great taste.
Nutritional Content of Alpaca Meat
Besides being delicious, alpaca is one of the best meats you can have if you want to eat healthily.
- Has half the saturated fat of beef (around 3%)
- Has a third less cholesterol than beef
- Has a similar amount of protein to lamb
- Has the lowest calories of any land-based meat
- Has a total fat content of only 6-7%
Alpaca Meat vs. Llama Meat
Alpaca meat and llama meat taste quite similar due to both animals being part of the camelid family. The main difference is that alpaca has a sweeter, more intense flavor that is preferred by many people who have tasted both.
Is Alpaca Meat Safe to Eat?
Alpaca meat is generally safe to eat and its consumption is legal in most countries around the world. In the USA, retail sale of alpaca meat is allowed in virtually all states, and inspection is required before the meat can be sold. In other words, alpaca is definitely safe to eat.
Where to Buy Alpaca Meat
You can buy alpaca meat in many countries across the world. While alpaca meat is easiest to find in South America, it can also be purchased in many Western counties including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the United States.
In the USA, however, keep in mind that as the USDA does not consider the alpaca a meat animal, the sale of the meat falls under the jurisdiction of the FDA and local state authorities.
This means that moving alpaca meat across state lines can be challenging unless the meat is mixed with at least 3% beef or pork to get USDA approval. For this reason, ground alpaca meat is more common in the USA and is used to make meatballs, hamburgers, casseroles, and other dishes.