USDA announces changes to the U.S. beef grading standards

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has announced it is updating its voluntary US standards for grades of carcass beef.  The update will provide companies using the standards with the additional option of age documentation.  The USDA says the ability to establish the maturity of animals ensures that cattle 30 months old, or less, are included in the youngest maturity group recognized as beef.   Currently, the USDA quality grades provide information about meat tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.  Grading standards are a major factor in determining the value of beef and live cattle.

The change for voluntary beef grading will be implemented Monday, December 18.

Prior to December 18th, companies using the USDA voluntary grading program must provide documentation to the AMS supervisor and graders describing how carcasses over 30 months of age are identified and segregated within the plant and ensure the AMS supervisor and graders are aware of how carcasses over 30 months of age are identified/marked.  The USDA says the carcasses must be identified in a manner that allows the AMS grader to easily see the identification when presented for grading.

  • It seems all choice steaks I am buying at the super market are tough, it did not use to be the case. Sirloin is my favorite cut and it used to be that choice sirloin cuts were always tender. Not the case now.

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