United States Standards For Grades Of Carcass Beef

The USDA and its subdivisions publish the grade standards for the purpose of standardizing the USDA Quality and Yield Grades of carcasses across all marketing sectors. The standards were first developed in 1916 and have been revised and amended throughout the years based on industry and scientific opinion, in order to improve the consistency and uniformity of the grades.[1]

In June 1965, a revision was made requiring all carcasses to be ribbed prior to assessing their USDA Quality Grade.[1] Later, in October 1980, a 10-minute minimum period was required between carcass ribbing and presentation for grading to allow for more uniform and accurate grading.[1] The standards identify eight designations for USDA Quality Grade, including Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and

Canner.[1] Additionally, the standards recognize five maturity groups that carcasses are categorized into, including A, B, C, D, and E.[1]

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