Beef carcasses are sorted in a grading system regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Livestock and Seed Division (LSD). When officially graded, the grade of steer, heifer, cow, or bullock carcass consists of the yield grade and (or) quality grade. USDA Yield Grade is an estimator of carcass composition, and USDA Quality Grade is an indicator of carcass quality. USDA beef grades were created with the intention of developing a uniform marketing system for beef based on composition (red meat yield) and quality (overall palatability).

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