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Raw roast beef
Streaky beef, here a raw beef steak

In German-speaking countries, beef (also beef or beef ) is generally used to describe the meat of various domestic cattle breeds (Bos taurus), which is produced after animals from cattle production have been slaughtered . In product knowledge , the meat of wild cattle is also included, while in food theory this is counted as game meat . Cattle can also refer to the Bovini genus, which includes buffalo and bison in addition to the actual cattle .

Beef varieties

Rinderhals (regional auch als „Kamm“ oder „Nacken“ bezeichnet) Querrippe (regional auch als „Spannrippe“ oder „Leiter“ bezeichnet) Rinderbrust (bestehend aus Brustspitze, Mittel- und Nachbrust) Fehlrippe Hochrippe (regional auch als „Hohe Rippe“ oder „Hohes Roastbeef“ bezeichnet) Roastbeef („Flaches Roastbeef“) Filet (regional auch Lende, Lungenbraten oder Feinstück genannt) 5 und 6 bilden ausgelöst das Zwischenrippenstück (Entrecôte) Spannrippe Bauchlappen (regional auch „Fleischdünnung“ genannt) Bug (regional auch „Schulter“ oder „Schaufel“ genannt) Oberschale (regional auch „Kluft“ genannt), „Unterschale“, „Nuss“, „Knöpfel“, „Kugel“, „Schlögl“ Schliem (je nach Zerlegung ein Teil der Dünnung Hüfte („Blume“) Schwanzstück (regional auch „Unterschale“ oder „Semer“ genannt) Hesse (regional auch „Wade“ genannt) Hesse oder Wade genannt) Teilstücke des Rindfleischs

Parts of the beef

0 1. Beef neck, comb or neck

02. Cross rib

03. Beef brisket

04. Missing rib

05. Prime rib, front rib or high roast beef

06. Roast beef or flat roast beef

00. 5. and 6. make up the roast beef or rib section

07. Fillet

08. Tension rib

09 Thinning

 10. Shoulder, bow, false fillet or scoop

 11. Upper shell, lower shell and nut

 12. Flank

 13. Hip with hip steak and tail piece or boiled beef

 14. Hesse or calf

The following terms are used:

Young beef or baby beef
for the slightly fibrous and tender meat of female and male, not fully grown animals.
Young bull meat
for the meat of non-castrated male animals slaughtered between 14 and 22 months of age. The meat of older animals is called bull meat . The animals are also known as bulls, bullocks or marshals, which is then used in the meat designation instead of bull. The meat is relatively low in fat and has a medium to strong fiber structure.
Ox meat
for the meat of castrated male cattle. It has little market importance as ox rearing is more time and feed intensive. The meat is fine-grained, juicy and aromatic.
for the meat of female cattle that have never calved. The meat is fine-grained, tender and juicy. Oxen and heifers are slaughtered after 20 to 30 months of stable fattening or after one or two pasture fattening periods.
Cow meat
for the meat of female cattle after calving. Mostly these are dairy cows whose milk yield is too low.

In product knowledge, veal is defined as a separate type of meat alongside beef. When veal is called the meat of calves and veal calves weighing slaughtered kg of about 200 aged 5 and 6 months and. The meat is low in fat and has fine fibers. Compared to the other types of meat, the meat is light pink to light red in color. In the case of food that is very rich in iron, such as fresh green forage, the meat becomes much darker and can be distinguished from the other types primarily by the low proportion of connective tissue.

The terms type of meat and type of meat are also used synonymously for the cuts of beef .

In the guidelines for meat and meat products of the German Food Book , beef is divided into three types according to its properties:

Low in tendons and adipose tissue beef
The skeletal muscles of the cattle, which naturally contain very little connective tissue and fatty tissue (e.g. upper shell ) or whose content of these tissues has been reduced accordingly by cutting out ( sinew ) (e.g. stripped bow section ).
Coarse sinewed beef
Beef with connective tissue and adipose tissue content, as is to be expected when processing not excessively lean beef halves without fillet, loin and upper shell after removal of the coarse tendons and larger accumulations of adipose tissue. Meat with higher connective tissue and fatty tissue contents is cut out accordingly.
Tine-rich beef
Beef with a connective tissue content that is higher than that of coarsely sinewed beef , but lower than when only leg meat is used, meat that has been separated from coarsely detached bones ("boning") and head meat.

Beef at the interface between head and neck is rated as rich in tendons and is only used for scalded and cooked sausages. Meat manually separated from coarsely detached bones is considered to be rich in tendons. Meat adhering to the head, tubular and spinal bones is only removed manually.

Economic importance and consumption

Worldwide production

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, around 67.4 million t of beef were produced worldwide in 2018 .

The following table gives an overview of the ten largest producers of beef worldwide, who produced 60.3% of the total amount of meat.

Largest Beef Producers (2018)
rank country Production
( tons )
01 United StatesUnited States United States 12.219.203
02 BrazilBrazil Brazil 9,900,000
03 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 5,810,609
04th ArgentinaArgentina Argentina 3,066,000
05 AustraliaAustralia Australia 2.219.103
06th MexicoMexico Mexico 1,980,846
07th RussiaRussia Russia 1,608,136
08th FranceFrance France 1,436,358
09 CanadaCanada Canada 1,231,352
10 GermanyGermany Germany 1,123,452
world 67.353.900


Beef with a total value of around 41.6 billion euros was traded across borders worldwide in 2018. The USA was the most important international export country for this meat, ahead of Australia and Brazil.

Beef Exporting Countries Worldwide (2018)
# country Exports (in billion €)
1 United StatesUnited States United States 6.1
2 AustraliaAustralia Australia 5.6
3 BrazilBrazil Brazil 4.7
4th IndiaIndia India 2.8
5 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 2.4
6th IcelandIceland Iceland 2.0
7th New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand 1.8
8th ArgentinaArgentina Argentina 1.6
9 CanadaCanada Canada 1.6
10 UruguayUruguay Uruguay 1.4

Beef consumption and consumption

The meat “consumption” in Germany in 2017 was 88.2 kilograms per capita, although human consumption there also includes feed, industrial utilization and losses (including bones).

In Germany, the “consumption” of beef and veal was 13.2 kilograms per inhabitant in 2013. In Switzerland 21.26 and in Austria 17.14 kg / person / year were consumed. Consumption in the ten countries with the highest consumption was 34.69 kg / person / year in 2017, while consumption in the ten countries at the end of the table was only 1.16 kg / person / year.

The following table gives an overview of the ten largest beef and veal consumers worldwide (in kg / head / year).

Largest beef and veal consumers (2013)
rank country Consumption
(kg / head / year)
01 ArgentinaArgentina Argentina 55.48
02 BrazilBrazil Brazil 39.25
03 United StatesUnited States United States 36.24
04th AustraliaAustralia Australia 33.86
05 BermudaBermuda Bermuda 33.15
06th French PolynesiaFrench Polynesia French Polynesia 30.90
07th CanadaCanada Canada 30.25
08th LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg 29.88
09 UruguayUruguay Uruguay 29.10
10 IsraelIsrael Israel 28.78
World average 11.20

Beef is the type of meat that has the greatest impact on the climate (13.3 kilos of CO 2 equivalents per kilo), as beef has the highest ecological footprint per gram of protein. The average water consumption is over 16,000 liters per kilo of beef.

Religious ban on beef

Hindus see cows as sacred animals and therefore prohibit the slaughter, processing and consumption of these animals to various degrees.

The Abrahamic religions hold the view that the consumption of beef is allowed.


The classification of beef takes into account the fullness of the muscles, the fat percentage and the category ( veal , bull , heifer ), but not the origin or the breed . The Beef Labeling Act stipulates mandatory labeling of beef and beef products. The labels must contain information about the birth, fattening, slaughter and cutting of the animal from which the meat originates.


Beef is one of the foods that cause high greenhouse gas emissions and considerable water consumption.


  • Gerald Rimbach, Jennifer Möhring, Helmut F. Erbersdobler: Food product knowledge for beginners. Gabler Wissenschaftsverlage, 2010, ISBN 9783642044854 , pp. 68–69.

Web links

Wiktionary: beef  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Beef  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Beef and Veal Recipes  - Learning and Teaching Materials

Individual evidence

  1. ^ "Third round - beef / beef" , Atlas on German Everyday Language (AdA), Phil.-Hist. Faculty, University of Augsburg, June 19, 2006
  2. David Seitz: The young bull lie: The biggest misunderstanding of meat in Germany on from September 11, 2016, accessed on March 4, 2017.
  3. German Food Book, Guidelines for Meat and Meat Products , Section I 1.11
  4. ^ Livestock primary> Meat, cattle. In: Official FAO production statistics for 2018., accessed on May 24, 2020 .
  5. ^ Trade Map - List of exporters for the selected product (Meat and edible meat offal). Retrieved February 9, 2020 .
  6. ^ Trade Map - List of exporters for the selected product (Meat of bovine animals, fresh or chilled). Retrieved February 9, 2020 .
  7. ^ Trade Map - List of exporters for the selected product (Meat of bovine animals, frozen). Retrieved February 9, 2020 .
  8. In numbers. Meat consumption and consumption per capita of the population. Bundesverband der Deutschen Fleischwarenindustrie eV, accessed on February 23, 2014 (statistics for the years 2009–2012).
  9. ^ A b Food Supply - Livestock and Fish Primary Equivalent> Bovine Meat. In: Official FAO consumption statistics for 2013 (kg / head / year)., accessed April 10, 2019 .
  10. Beef only in second place: These foods are the worst climate killers - ÖKO-TEST. Retrieved on May 10, 2019 (German).
  11. Julia Moskin, Brad Plumer, Rebecca Lieberman and Eden Weingart: Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered. The New York Times, April 30, 2019, accessed May 11, 2019 .
  12. Jürgen Rösemeier-Buhmann: These are the 6 biggest climate sinners among food. In: Sustainable Retrieved October 26, 2019 .
  13. Food rules in Islam. Retrieved July 28, 2020 .
  14. Kashrut - The Jewish dietary rules. November 25, 2017, accessed July 28, 2020 .
  15. Food commandments in Christianity and in the Bible. Retrieved July 28, 2020 .
  16. Heinrich Böll Foundation (ed.): Meat Atlas 2018 . ( [PDF]).
  17. Heinrich Böll Foundation (ed.): Meat Atlas 2013 . ( [PDF]).