Consumers and industry look for the USDA grade shields as trusted symbols of wholesome, high-quality American beef. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the agency responsible for grading, continues to explore ways to more efficiently conduct business. Most recently, we used beef instrumentation grading technology to initiate an audit-based Beef Grading Pilot Program at a facility in Toppenish, Washington in August 2012.
Although beef instrumentation grading technology has been in use for several years, it has not reduced the number of graders required at each grading facility until now. By working with the Meat Graders’ Union, we were able to come to an agreement to pilot a program that would have beef industry employees trained to interpret and apply the Official USDA Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef under the oversight of a USDA meat grader. Read more »
Infographic (click to see larger version) outlining the differences between USDA’s beef grades.
The USDA grade shields are highly regarded as symbols of safe, high-quality American beef. Quality grades are widely used as a “language” within the beef industry, making business transactions easier and providing a vital link to support rural America. Consumers, as well as those involved in the marketing of agricultural products, benefit from the greater efficiency permitted by the availability and application of grade standards. Read more »
Dutch Chef Eric Troost prepares an upscale dish using U.S. beef during a cooking demonstration for about 130 Belgian chefs Sept. 24. The demo was part of the first U.S. beef tasting event held in Belgium, which was hosted by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in The Hague, Netherlands, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). The tasting was part of ongoing efforts to help expand U.S. beef exports to the European Union (EU). (Photo courtesy FAS The Hague)
The European Union (EU) is a relatively new market for U.S. beef exports. It wasn’t until August 2009 when the United States began exporting high-quality beef (marbled with a high fat content) to the EU under a negotiated tariff rate quota for non-hormone treated beef. Read more »
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has 98 offices worldwide that work every day to maintain access of U.S. agricultural products.
Every day, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) field offices work to maintain access for U.S. products in export markets around the world. When trade is disrupted, these offices step up to the plate to address the issue and work with their counterparts in Washington, D.C., the exporters, and the foreign government to ensure trade can resume. Read more »
Nolan Ryan is one of the greatest icons in Major League Baseball history – a first-ballot Hall of Fame member and team president of the Texas Rangers. But Ryan is special in another way: he heads the Nolan Ryan Guaranteed Tender Beef Program, one of just a few marketing programs verified by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
AMS relies on university-researched and industry-recognized standards to determine which marketing claims it chooses to verify, and Ryan’s beef has been called “safe at home.” Companies approach AMS to verify marketing claims, such as “guaranteed tender,” to assure their customers that the products are exactly what they claim when listed on packaging. This is an important service to consumers who desire a certain quality of beef and want government, third-party assurance that their beef purchases meet exacting requirements. Read more »