Veal comes from calves. It can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, but most veal comes from male calves of dairy cattle breeds. Limited numbers of male dairy calves are needed for breeding and the rest are sold to the veal industry. Incidentally, rennet (necessary for cheese making) is extracted from part of the fourth stomach chamber of harvested young, unweaned calves used for veal production.
Beef comes from older cattle and can be harvested from bulls,
cows, heifers or steers. When a cow is slaughtered, its beef is so
fresh it is considered 'green'. Green beef is tough, bland, and
has no sustained juiciness. Aging causes natural enzymes to break
down the muscle fibers, making it more tender. Most aging takes
place within one to two weeks. Incidentally, Kobe beef, prized
for its intense marbling, refers to beef from the Tajima strain
of wagyu cattle, raised in Japan's Hyogo Prefecture according to
rules from the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion
Association. There are only about 3,000 head of cattle that may
qualify as Kobe. No beef from Japan was allowed to be imported
into the US by the USDA, starting during 2009. US
'Kobe-style' beef comes from domestically raised wagyu crossbred
with Angus cattle. Black Angus is the most common beef
breed (sixty percent and greater than the next seven breeds
combined) of cattle in the US and is meat is used by
McDonald's and Hardees.
Offal is also called variety meats or organ meats and refers to
the internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal, such as
calves, pigs, sheep, and lambs. It includes most internal organs,
but not muscle and bone. Certain offal dishes, including foie
gras, pâté, and sweetbread are considered gourmet food in
international cuisine. Others remain part of traditional regional
cuisine including Scottish haggis, Jewish chopped liver, Southern
US chitlins, Mexican menudo as well as many other dishes.
Intestines are traditionally used as casing for sausages.