Veal is the meat from a few weeks to months old cattle ( calves ). It is generally softer and lighter than beef. Depending on the age and type of rearing and feeding it has a bright red, pink or whitish color. When grazing and pure green fodder, the meat turns red in stall-feeding, it is brighter. When the mast there are different stages: in the first stage, the calves are kept in individual boxes, in order to observe good can and to feed them. At this stage, the calves can see each other. At the age of six weeks, they are kept in groups of at least three animals. It is common practice that the animals have enough light so that they can develop properly. With feed that contain little iron, can produce "white" veal, since iron stains the flesh reddish. Very light meat is particularly popular with gourmets.

Calves are slaughtered in Germany usually at the age of about 22 weeks, and have a slaughter weight of 150 kg. Weighs a not yet full-grown beef more, there is also the name for young cattle. Until now, there was this in the relevant trade classes for beef but no legal definition. But in June 2007, the European Union has set for the whole EU, which meat may be referred to as veal. Thereafter, the calves may be up to eight months old, between eight and twelve months they are considered young cattle. The regulation entered into force on 1 July 2008.

While in many European countries, the veal calves are mainly fed on milk and milk products and slaughtered at the age of a few months, there are some countries such as Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands a different breeding system in which the animals fed mainly with cereals and after slaughtered the tenth month. These animals must be marketed as young cattle in the future.

In the EU, a total of around 800,000 tonnes of veal are produced per year. The main producing countries are France ( 30% ), the Netherlands (26 %), Italy (18% ), Belgium ( 7%) and Germany ( 6%). The major consuming countries are France and Italy.

To be particularly high in the calf are the parts that are suitable for frying, namely from the back and the leg ( top round, shell and nut ). For cooking and braising to bow, neck, thinning are ( abdomen), breast, and shanks. The calf's head, tongue and ears are now used rarely in the kitchen.

Veal is low in fat and should be cooked gently so it does not dry out.