It might be another example of Slavic influence on Romanian. I don't know, I'm just guessing, but Czech for example does this frequently, e.g. hovězí maso literally = beef meat, even though the word for the meat is entirely different to the word for the animal (kráva = cow) and would suffice on its own.
Vită can be used for the living animal. "Am o vită bolnavă" = I have a sick cow/ox. One doesn't eat the whole cow (skin and organs) but just the meat.
More like "cow meat", we don't have different words for animals and their meat.
It accepts both "Don't you eat beef?" and "Do you not eat beef?". These are very different questions, can someone clarify which it is? Or if it could be both, how do you tell the difference?
These mean the same and can be used interchangeably. Just differently put together grammarly wise.
I'm not sure if I can explain it... I'll give it a go.
In 'Don't you eat...?' the 'not' is combined with 'do'. The negative way of asking put together with the positive action 'eat'.
In 'Do you not eat...?' the word 'not' is linked to 'eat' making the action negative, 'not eat'. So, the question is asked positively 'Do you...?' about some action that is already negative, 'not eat'.
It's quite complicated, and not really of importance in regards to the meaning.