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The term milk-fed veal – sometimes referred to as special-fed or formula-fed – is a USDA classification that describes veal calves derived from the dairy industry and fed a special milk formula or milk replacer that is rich in nutrients. This formula is typically made from whey and whey protein, both of which are by-products of cheese making. It's nutritionally designed to produce creamy white to pale pink meat. In addition to the milk, most farmers also feed some grain and forages.

Milk-fed veal was developed in Holland and brought to the U.S. shortly after WWII.  Milk-fed veal evolved by utilizing two primary by-products of the dairy industry – bull calves and whey. Since the U.S. dairy herd is predominantly Holstein based, the black and white Holstein bull calf soon became synonymous with milk-fed veal.