|Script: Let’s Talk About
Welcome to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service “Food Safety
At Home” podcast series, featuring topics for the safe handling,
preparation and storage of meat, poultry and processed egg products.
Hello, I’m Kathy Bernard with the Food Safety Education Staff. My
guest today is Nadine Shaw, also with the Food Safety Education
Staff. Today’s topic is veal.
Hello Nadine, welcome.
Veal is a very delicate red meat, and some consumers have never
cooked it at home. Can you tell us how veal is used in dishes?
Sure Kathy, veal is often associated with international cuisines
such as Italian, French, German, Swiss, Hungarian, and Czech. Because
it’s a delicacy, people enjoy preparing veal at home for special
occasions or they order it when dining out.
Exactly what is “veal?”
Veal is the meat from a dairy calf or young beef animal. The majority
of veal calves are fed special diets containing iron and other essential
nutrients. A veal calf is raised until about sixteen to eighteen
weeks of age and typically weighs up to four hundred fifty pounds
Are hormones and antibiotics used in veal?
No hormones are used in veal animals. However, antibiotics may be
given to prevent or treat disease in the veal calf. There is a "withdrawal"
period required from the time antibiotics are administered until
it is legal to slaughter the animal. This is so residues can exit
the animal's system and not be present in the meat.
Is veal inspected by USDA?
Yes. All veal sold in stores is either USDA inspected or inspected
by State systems which have standards equal to the Federal government.
These inspections insure the veal is safe, wholesome, and correctly
labeled and packaged.
Is it graded for quality like beef?
Grading for quality is voluntary. A processing plant may request
to have its veal graded for quality based on traits such as tenderness,
juiciness and flavor. The five veal quality grades are very similar
to beef. They are prime, choice, good, standard, and utility. Because
of close trimming at the retail level, you may not see the USDA
quality grade shield on the meat cuts at the store. Instead, retailers
put stickers with the USDA quality grade shield on individual packages
What color is uncooked veal?
Veal is classified as a "red" meat, but typical lean veal meat has
a light pink color before cooking. It should be white or pale pink
after being cooked.
Nadine, tell us how to handle and store veal safely.
In the grocery store, put packages of veal in disposable plastic
bags separate from other groceries. This will contain any leakage
of raw meat juices. Otherwise, cross contamination with other foods
or produce could occur.
After purchasing your veal, take it home immediately and refrigerate
it at forty degrees Fahrenheit or below. Use veal chops and roasts
within three to five days, and ground veal or stew meat within one
to two days.
Does veal freeze well?
Yes. You may freeze veal at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below. If
kept frozen, veal will be safe indefinitely, although the quality
can be affected with extended freezing. For best quality, use frozen
veal chops and frozen roasts within four to six months and ground
veal or stew meat within three to four months.
Now let’s say we are ready to cook the veal. Do you need to wash
No, there is no need to wash raw veal before cooking. Any bacteria
that might be present on the surface would be destroyed by cooking.
Also, wet meat won't brown very well.
Veal can be cooked by the same methods used to cook beef. For safety,
USDA recommends cooking ground veal to a safe minimum internal temperature
of one hundred sixty degrees Fahrenheit. However, whole muscle meats
such as veal steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to one hundred
forty five degrees Fahrenheit.
What are the basic cooking methods for veal?
There are two basic methods. You can use dry heat or moist heat.
Dry heating methods include roasting, broiling, pan broiling, grilling
or stir frying. This method is used to cook tender cuts, including
leg, cutlets, veal patties, and rib or loin chops.
Less tender cuts, such as cross cut shanks, stew meat, round steak
and breast of veal, generally require moist heat cooking methods.
One method, braising, is roasting or simmering less tender meats
with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.
How should you handle the leftovers?
Leftovers should be refrigerated leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
Discard food left out more than two hours (one hour if temperatures
are above ninety degrees Fahrenheit). Eat the leftovers within three
to four days, either cold or reheated to one hundred sixty five
degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also safe to freeze cooked veal dishes,
but for best quality, use within four months.
You can learn more about the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products
by visiting the FSIS Web site at
www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit
us online for assistance from our virtual representative “Ask Karen”
You can also talk to a food safety expert by calling USDA’s Meat
and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Nadine Shaw, from
FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. I’m Kathy Bernard. Thanks for
joining us for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember,
“Be Food Safe.”
Thanks for listening to this Food Safety At Home podcast. Let
us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments
Last Modified: September 20, 2010