Abstract Friesian steers ( n=5), aged 26–27 months, were fed a diet containing 2000 (supplemented) IU α-tocopheryl acetate/head/day for approximately 50 days prior to slaughter. Muscularis semimembranosus muscles from supplemented cattle were held in frozen storage (−20°C×12 weeks) following which they were minced and divided into five batches. The batches contained: (1) control, containing only vitamin E supplemented beef (C); (2) vitamin E supplemented beef with 4% soya oil (S); (3) vitamin E supplemented beef mixed with 0.2% Duralox NMC dissolved in 4% soya oil (R1); (4) vitamin E supplemented beef mixed with 0.25% Herbalox type 25 (containing 25 natural antioxidant extracts of rosemary) dissolved in 4% soya oil (R2); and (5) vitamin E supplemented beef mixed with a 1:1 mixture of 0.01% (w/w) BHA and 0.01% (w/w) BHT dissolved in 4% soya oil (B). The meat was then aerobically packaged (A) or packaged under the following modified atmospheres (MAP); 30:70 (M 1); 70:30 (M 2) or 80:20 (M 3) (O 2:CO 2). Oxidative stability (TBARS) and Hunter ‘ a’ values (redness) were determined in all beef patties over 8 days of refrigerated (4°C) storage. Under MAP or aerobic packaging conditions, elevated oxygen levels brought about increased ( P<0.05) TBARS numbers during refrigerated storage. However, the addition of rosemary extracts or BHA/BHT significantly ( P<0.05) improved the oxidative stability of dietary α-tocopheryl acetate supplemented beef. Rosemary extracts were as effective in reducing TBARS as the combination of synthetic antioxidants, BHA/BHT.