Interest exists in the manufacture of meat products with added functional ingredients to enhance consumer health. Because experimental evidence suggests that many herbs and spices, particularly those of the Lamiaceae family such as Salvia officinalis L. (sage) and Origanum vulgare L. (oregano), possess a wide range of biological and pharmacological activities, they represent promising functional ingredients for incorporation into meat and meat products. The present study aimed to determine the bioactivity of cooked beef patties that were enriched with or without sage or oregano extracts (1,200 mu g/g). Cooked beef patties were subjected to an in vitro digestion procedure, and the resulting micelles isolated from the digested meats were added to human intestinal Caco-2 cells. The antioxidant potential (ferric reducing antioxidant power [FRAP] value) of enriched beef patties was significantly higher than the FRAP value of non-enriched beef patties, both before and after in vitro digestion. Cell viability significantly increased following treatment with certain concentrations of the micelle fractions from digested sage- or oregano-enriched beef patties. Pretreatment with micelles derived from sage- or oregano-enriched beef patties did not significantly protect against cell injury or DNA damage induced by H(2)O(2). However, micelles derived from digested sage- enriched beef patties (10% vol/vol) significantly increased cellular reduced glutathione (GSH) content. In addition, micelles derived from both sage- and oregano-enriched beef patties (10% vol/vol) significantly protected against H(2)O(2)-induced GSH depletion. Thus, it appears that sage and oregano exhibit some bioactivity within a meat system. Our findings suggest that herbal extracts have potential as possible functional ingredients in meat products.