Nowadays, cured meats are mostly made from pork and turkey. They are also made from beef, chicken, veal, lamb and sheep. The quality of the meat is sorted into categories, defined according to fat percentage as well as the animal’s age and gender.
Turkey meat. Turkeys used in meat production must reach 12 weeks of age for hens and 16 weeks for toms (weighing 6 and 11 kg respectively). After bleeding and plucking, the meat is processed in the same way as chicken but with extra caution as to its preservation since it is vulnerable to microbes, viruses etc.
Pork. This meat comes from pigs that have reach a maximum age of 6-7 months (weighing 90-120 kg) and is almost completely cleaned of fat, and intramuscular fatty tissue. In cutlets and neck cuts a part of the tissue remains. In belly and chest cuts, the surface fat and skin are retained.
Beef. It is classified into categories depending on the age and gender of the animal: young oxen, heifers and cows. Veal is considered the best quality meat in this category. Breed is also a factor that defines quality. Meat producing breeds and crossbreeds give more tender meat than dual purpose breeds (milk and meat production).
Veal. Meat from animals aged up to 4 months (weighing up to 150 kg). This meat is fat free and has a lighter colour than beef. Colour is indicative of meat quality: pink or light red is absolutely preferable to "whitish" veal meat which is a result of a diet lacking in iron and fresh feed. Suckling veal meat, of course, is superior to all others.
Lamb & sheep. Lamb meat is taken from animals that are younger than 1 year old while, as a rule, sheep meat refers to the meat of animals of different ages (from lamb to adult sheep) and genders (female and male).
Chicken meat. Poultry farm animals must have reached 2 kg (8 weeks of age). The protein in their meat is almost equal in value to that of mammals; their meat is easier to digest while their fat is high in unsaturated fatty acids. The tender and juicy nature of the chicken meat depends on the age, gender and type of animal, and also on whether the meat has been preserved well, i.e. in relatively high temperature and low humidity.