Food Safety Practices for Veal

man shopping for veal

How to Handle and Store Veal Safely

Fresh veal is kept cold during distribution to retail stores. When shopping, put packages of veal in disposable plastic bags, to contain leakage which could cross contaminate cooked foods or produce that will be eaten raw such as salad. Take veal home immediately and refrigerate at 40 °F or below.

Use veal chops and roasts within 3 to 5 days, and ground veal or stew meat within 1 to 2 days.

You may freeze veal at 0 °F 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 4 to 6 months and ground veal or stew meat within 3 to 4 months.

It is not important if a date expires after freezing veal because all foods stay safe while properly frozen.


Rinsing Veal

There is no need to wash raw veal before cooking. Any bacteria that might be present on the surface would be destroyed by cooking. Wet meat won’t brown well.

man looking in refrigerator

Safe Thawing

There are three safe methods to thaw veal: in the refrigerator; in cold water; and in the microwave. When thawing in the refrigerator, estimate 4 to 7 hours per pound for a large roast, 3 to 5 hours per pound for a small roast, and about 12 hours for 1-inch thick rib or shoulder chops. Ground veal defrosting time depends on the thickness of the package.

To defrost veal in cold water, do not remove packaging. Be sure the package is airtight or put it into a leakproof bag. Submerge the veal in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Small packages of veal may defrost in an hour or less: a 3 to 4 pound roast may take 2 to 3 hours. When thawing in cold water or in the microwave immediately cook the veal. Never thaw on the counter or any other locations at room temperature.

Foods defrosted in the microwave or by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing because they may have been held at temperatures above 40 °F, where bacteria multiply rapidly.

It is safe to cook frozen veal in the oven or on the stove or grill without defrosting. Estimate one-third to one-half more cooking time depending upon the size of the meat. Broil frozen veal farther away from the heat source; preheat the skillet when pan-frying or pan-broiling. Do not cook frozen veal in a slow cooker.