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USDA Announces Changes to U.S. Beef Grade Standards

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

(North American Meat Institute)

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is revising the voluntary U.S. Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef . The update will provide companies using the USDA grading program with additional options - dentition or age documentation - to establish the maturity of animals and ensure that cattle 30 months old or less are included in the youngest maturity group recognized as "beef" (A maturity). Skeletal and muscular evidence will still be used to determine maturity for those animals older than 30 months of age.

The changes to the standards will be implemented December 18. Prior to that date, companies using the voluntary grading program must provide documentation to the AMS Supervisor and Graders describing how carcasses over 30 months of age (MOA) are identified and segregated within the plan. Beginning December 18, companies may only offer carcasses for initial quality and yield grading. Carcasses held as "regrades" from the previous week should not be presented for grading.

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