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AMS Will Not Proceed With Revisions to Pork Carcass Standards

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

(North American Meat Institute)

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will not proceed with proposed revisions to the U.S. Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses. The proposed standard had identified marbling and color as the primary considerations for quality designations, and would have replaced lean/fat and yield considerations outlined in the current standard. The proposed revised standard also would have excluded the provision regarding sow carcass grading, maintaining only the official standards for barrows and gilts.

The Meat Institute in December 2017 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.

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