Indiana Veal: From Farm to Table
Veal is often associated with international cuisines such as Italian, French, German, Swiss, Hungarian, and Czech. Home cooks enjoy preparing veal for special occasions or for casual dinners such as barbecues. Veal is either USDA or state inspected. Here are some facts about veal:
What is Veal?
Veal is the meat from a calf or young beef animal. A veal calf is raised until about 16 to 18 weeks of age, weighing up to 450 pounds. Male dairy calves are used in the veal industry. Dairy cows must give birth to continue producing milk, but male dairy calves are of little or no value to the dairy farmer. A small percentage are raised to maturity and used for breeding.
What is a Calf?
A calf is a young bovine of either sex that has not reached puberty (up to about 9 months of age), and has a maximum live weight of 750 pounds.
What is "Bob" Veal?
About fifteen percent of veal calves are marketed up to 3 weeks of age or at a weight of 150 pounds. These are called Bob Calves.
What is "Special-Fed" Veal?
Special, milk-fed and formula fed veal calves usually are fed nutritionally balanced milk or soy based diets. These specially controlled diets contain iron and 40 other essential nutrients, including amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. The majority of veal calves are "special-fed."
How are Veal Calves Housed?
Today's modern, environmentally controlled veal barns provide for animal health and safety. The barns are lighted artificially and by natural light, and a constant source of fresh air is circulated. Individual stalls are used for each calf. These stalls provide a safe environment where the calves can stand, stretch, groom themselves and lay down in a natural position. These pens are invaluable to the health of the animal. They allow the calves to be individually looked after. The stall's slotted floors allow for efficient removal of waste.
How are Veal Calves Raised?
Veal calves are observed individually and are provided with specialized care. They also receive a milk replacer diet that provides all of the 40 vitamins and minerals they require.
Veal calves are usually separated from the cows within 3 days after birth, allowing for control of diseases and monitoring the dairy cow for udder problems.
Individual stalls allow veal farmers and veterinarians to closely monitor the health of each calf and properly treat a calf with a specific, government approved antibiotic. Veal farmers monitor each calf for health deficiencies such as anemia. The feed is controlled to meet the calves' iron needs. Health products for use with veal calves are approved by the Food and Drug Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services before being put on the market. The FDA also regulates information on the labeling of the product, the doses permitted, and withdrawal period.