Introduction

Meat quality is an important aspect of the meat industry today because it defines the total eating experience a consumer will likely have. Meat quality refers to the palatability of meat, including tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. Consumers correlate their level of acceptance of their cooked meat products with these three main factors. The relationship between consumer acceptance and meat quality makes it highly valuable to assess the quality grades of beef carcasses prior to being marketed. Therefore, the sole purpose of applying U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Quality Grades is to detect quality differences that will affect the eating quality of meat from the carcasses. USDA Quality Grades are determined for carcasses based on visual appraisal of two distinct factors: physiological maturity of the carcass and intramuscular fat (marbling) contained within the ribeye. Therefore, this article will discuss the visual appraisal of these quality factors.

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