Veal is the meat that is produced from male calves. It is prized for its great taste and nutrient rich content, and is more expensive than standard beef. There are a number of other factors which are less known that make veal popular among five star restaurants and gourmet chefs.
Veal’s Light Color
Veal tends to be lighter than other types of meat, and this is because of the calf’s age and the amount of iron (myoglobin) which is present in their muscles. Myoglobin creates a reddish pigment which influences meat color, and to keep it as light as possible without harming the calf, the level of iron they receive is strictly controlled through a milk diet that is nutritionally balanced.
Veal Is Packed With Nutrients
Studies from the USDA indicate that a single three ounce serving of veal that is cooked and trimmed provides over ten percent of daily values in zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and B12 and protein. B vitamins and proteins are essential because they help in boosting energy levels, while zinc is responsible for managing the immune system and plays a key role in cognitive development and growth.
Veal Calves Are Handled Differently Than Standard Cows
Most veal calves reside inside group pens as opposed to enclosed boxes, which offer sufficient space for stretching, standing, grooming and lying down naturally. The calves are also raised mostly in family barns which provide both overhead and natural light with windows that give them access to the sun. Veal calves, unlike adult cows, are often housed indoors to protect them from harsh weather and to ensure they are regularly fed, cleaned and given water.
How Long Do Veal Calves Remain With Their Parents?
The dairy cow offspring, both females and males, are usually taken from their parents within a few days of being born. This is done to encourage the adult cows to go back to their heard so they can create milk that humans can consume. Separating the calves early also prevents various udder and intestinal problems.
Veal Farmers Work Closely With Veterinarians
While every dairy farmer has a vested interest in ensuring their cows are as healthy as possible, with veal calves it is even more so. They will typically work with a veterinarian directly to design a health program to maximize the comfort and health of the animals. The goal is to reduce stress, disease and sickness as much as possible, and if a calf becomes sick, it is quickly administered individual care.
Veal Is Highly Regulated In Most Jurisdictions
In the United States, veal is regulated by the VQA, or Veal Quality Assurance Program, but many nations have similar regulations. They ensure that veal farmers provide optimal animal care while maintaining best practices. An example of this would be providing quality feed which meets certain nutritional standards while giving the calves access to clean drinking water.