Is Veal Red Meat? Should You Eat it?

Veal is highly nutritious meat that is obtained from the male offspring of dairy cows. It is a delicacy highly prized in the cuisines of many countries. However, Americans hardly eat much veal compared to some countries in Europe. Why is it that some people avoid eating veal?

Animal rights activists have attached so much guilt to the consumption of veal because they consider separating newborn calves from their mothers and slaughtering them for meat, animal cruelty. Life, for male calves born into the dairy industry (usually slaughtered for veal), is seen as an endless cycle of exploitation and anguish.

Despite the guilt-tripping by animal rights activists, many people still enjoy their veal in different dishes. The color of veal meat, however, confuses some as they ask, “Is veal red meat or white meat?” “What type of meat is veal?” “How does it differ from beef?” Come with me, as we learn about this prized meat called veal!

Is Veal Red Meat?

Yes, veal is classified as red meat. Since beef is red meat and veal is beef that has been processed before maturity, veal is also red meat just like beef. The difference between veal and beef is just the maturity of the cattle. The red color associated with beef could not develop in veal due to low myoglobin levels, which is caused by raising the young calves on an iron-deficient diet.

Is Veal Better for You Than Beef?   

Yes, it is. Apart from the fact that veal is slightly tenderer than beef, it is also healthier and more nutritious. While beef is higher in calories, protein, and fats, veal has better protein and fat quality. Veal is also richer in most of the B group vitamins except for vitamin B12, which can be found in larger amounts in beef.

Why You Should Eat Veal?

Veal has an impressive nutritional profile. It is tender and leaner than poultry with just as much protein as beef. It is also delicious and easy to cook at home. 

Why You Should Not Eat Veal?

While there is no definite reason for you not to eat veal, it is completely up to you to choose whether to eat it or not.

Many people shy away from eating veal because of the stigma associated with raising caged animals and the inhumane conditions to which the animals are subjected. But these days, more humane conditions have been provided for raising veal. For instance, the calves are no longer chained to individual cages and some of them are even raised on pasture. 

Why Is Veal Meat Not Red in Color?

Veal meat is not red because of the age of the calf and the myoglobin level present in the muscle. Myoglobin produces a red pigment that affects the color of the meat. Most veal calves are processed when they are about 10-12 months. At that age, their meat is still very tender, because the animal’s muscles are underdeveloped. 

Also, keeping the color of the veal meat pale or light is desirable, so to keep the meat pale without any harm to the calf’s health, the amount of iron a calf gets is controlled through a nutritionally balanced milk-based diet and monitored regularly.

What Is So Special About Veal?

Veal is extra-lean meat which is considered to be healthier than beef. Apart from the nutritional composition of beef, it is considered a prized delicacy in many parts of the world, probably because of its tenderness.

Is Lamb the Same as Veal?

No, lamb is not the same as veal. The difference between both is that veal is obtained from a young cow (calf), while the lamb is from young sheep (lamb). Veal is much more tender than beef while lamb is much tender than mutton. Veal, however, has a milder taste than lamb.

Read also: Doner Kebab Vs Gyro – The Differences

Why Is Veal Cruel?

Animal rights activists believe that veal is cruel because of the unethical practices behind veal production which involves inflicting unimaginable anguish on young calves just to profit from the demand for tender meat.

Why Is Veal So Expensive?

Veal is expensive because it is not as readily available as beef. The process involved in veal production is more complicated than that of beef, and so attracts higher prices.

Read also: Is Shrimp Considered A Meat or Fish?

How Old Is Veal When It’s Slaughtered?

Generally, there is no recommended age for veal calves’ slaughter, but it is usually from six to eight months old. The more tender veal is usually processed when the calf is just a few weeks old. The younger the calf, the tenderer the veal. 

For those wondering, “Is veal red meat?”, I hope I have answered your question and that you also got to learn new things about veal that you never knew before. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about veal, please ask in the comment section. 

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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