Veal is a nutritious and nutrient-rich meat that is produced from the male offspring of dairy cows.
Both male and female offspring of dairy cows are normally removed from cows within three days of giving birth. This separation allows dairy cows to return to the herd and produce milk for human consumption. Certain udder diseases in cows and intestinal problems in calves can also be more effectively controlled with early separation.
The light meat results from the age of the calf and the level of myoglobin (iron content) in the muscle. Myoglobin produces a red pigment that affects the color of the meat. To keep the meat light, without harming calf health, the amount of iron a calf receives is controlled through a nutritionally balanced milk-based diet and monitored on a regular basis.
1. Veal is a nutritional powerhouse.
Recent USDA data reveals that a 3 oz. serving of cooked, trimmed veal provides less than 10% of the calories recommended for a 2,000 calorie diet. At the same time, veal delivers more than 10% of the daily values for protein, zinc, niacin, as well as vitamin B12 and B6. Protein and B-vitamins help us increase our energy levels. Zinc maintains immune function and plays a key role in growth and cognitive development.
2. The majority of veal calves live in group pens, not in enclosed boxes, providing adequate space to stand, stretch, lie down, and groom naturally.
3. Veal is typically raised on family farms in modern barns that offer ample natural and overhead lighting and many windows to let in natural sunlight. Veal farmers house calves in barns to protect them from harsh weather, to monitor, feed and water them regularly, and to keep their stalls clean.
Most modern veal barns are also heated during cold months and have year-round ventilation to allow for clean, fresh air.
4. Veal farmers work directly with a veterinarian to develop a comprehensive herd-health program to ensure maximum animal health and comfort.
Most veal farmers establish on-farm programs and training that seek to minimize stress and disease, while providing timely and appropriate care to treat sickness or disease. If a calf is ill, it is given immediate individual care.
5. Veal farmers use quality feed that meets the nutritional requirements of veal calves and contains the nutrition necessary to maintain health, growth, and energy. Calves have access to drinking water throughout the day and feed is managed for proper protein and fat levels for the age and size of the calf.
Veal farmers work with reputable experts such as animal nutritionists to design nutritional programs that are best for veal calves.
6. The Veal Quality Assurance Program (VQA) certifies that veal farmers provide excellent animal care and use the best handling practices on the farm.
Since the adoption of the VQA, veal farmers have increased the health and well-being of their animals while continuing to produce the high-quality, safe meat expected by customers.