What's The Deal With Veal?

Mar 02, 2017

Veal is meat from a calf or young beef animal. These calves are raised until about 16 to 18 weeks of age, weighing around 450 pounds. Most of these calves are products of the dairy industry. Male dairy calves have little value to the dairy industry, so they are used in the veal industry.

Most of the consumption of veal occurs outside of the United States. The consumption of veal in the United States has dramatically decreased over time. The all-time high for veal consumption in the US was in 1944 with 8.6 lbs. of veal per person. However, in 2008, Americans only consumed around 0.3 lbs. of veal per person annually.

Veal calves are separated from their mothers within 3 days after birth. They are then housed in separate barns and fed a milk replacer containing all of the nutritional requirements of the calf. The animals are then slaughtered around 18 weeks of age.

Just like the rest of the meat industry, every veal carcass is inspected by the USDA. They are also graded using a specific system which considers the conformation of the carcass and the quality and color of the lean. Veal can be one of five quality grades: prime, choice, good, standard, and utility.

While veal is considered a red meat, the meat will possess a paler color when raw. Cooking veal is very similar to cooking chicken. Garlic, lemon peel, black pepper, lemon pepper, fresh or dried herbs, and Italian seasoning are some of the more popular pairings for veal. When cooking,  veal needs to reach a safe internal temperature of 160 ° F.

Veal is a healthy choice as a 3 ounce serving has only 166 calories, and provides 29% of the recommended daily intake of zinc, 36% of the daily intake of niacin, and 23% of the recommended vitamin B-12 intake.

When purchasing veal look for a creamy pink, fine grained texture cut of meat. If there is any fat on the meat is should have a milky white appearance. You want to choose a package that is cold, and tightly wrapped to keep the meat fresh for a longer period of time.

While veal consumption is drastically decreasing, it is still a good source of nutrients for consumers, while adding diversity to the diet.

 

Sources: 

http://vealmadeeasy.com/cooking-methods/

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/veal-from-farm-to-table/CT_Index

Photo Courtesy of The MeatingPlace 

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