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AMS Reopens Comment Period for Proposed Revisions to Pork Carcass Grade Standards

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

(North American Meat Institute)

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) reopened the comment period regarding proposed revisions to the U.S. Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses (pork standards). Public comments are now due March 19, 2018. The proposed standard identifies marbling and color as the primary considerations for quality designations, replacing lean/fat and yield considerations outlined in the current standard. The proposed revised standard also would exclude the provision regarding sow carcass grading, maintaining only the official standards for barrows and gilts.

The Meat Institute in December submitted comments to AMS asserting the proposed revisions to the grading standard, if implemented, would not benefit packers or consumers. The comments raised concerns that the quality grade would apply only to the loin stating, “[t]he potential premiums and value captured from higher grading loins are not likely to cover implementation costs of adding AMS graders, grading cameras and additional personnel.”

The Meat Institute also contended the proposed changes would be difficult, or impossible, to implement in large establishments because evaluating loin quality for grading classification would occur simultaneously to processing. Moreover, the proposed standards would compromise other quality-based marketing programs that packers and producers use to promote their products to retailers, consumers and the food service sector, according to the comments. Meat Institute members interested in submitting their own comments can use this template .

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