Date: 9/1/2016 12:00:00 AM

Title: Request to Modernize the U.S. Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef



Take Action Now



Request to Modernize the U.S. Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef


Click HERE to comment now.

The USDA Ag Marketing Service is requesting comments on modernizing the current standards for grading carcass beef to include considering dentition for age verification. NCBA requested this comment period and estimates the change would yield beef producers approximately $59 million in added revenue.

Please comment today; urge USDA AMS to modernize the current standards for grades of carcass beef to include the use of dentition for age verification.Sample comments are included below.



Request to Modernize the U.S. Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef [Docket No. AMS-LPS-16-0060]


As a cattle producer, I am writing in support of modernizing the current U.S. standards for grades of carcass beef to utilize dentition or age verification as methods to determine maturity groupings instead of relying solely on skeletal and lean (physiological) maturity.

Utilizing the recommendations of dentition and age verification will allow for an alternate method of classifying beef carcasses into maturity groupings, thus allowing additional carcasses to qualify for the higher USDA grades of Prime, Choice and Select without a significant reduction in the consistency of those grades in predicting palatability.

Since 1993, cattle producers have invested well over 10 million checkoff dollars in research to better understand palatability and the characteristics that drive consumer demand for beef products. A recent study, funded by the Beef Checkoff, evaluated the relationship between USDA carcass maturity and eating quality of strip loin steaks produced by fed steers and heifers that had been classified as less than 30 months of age using dentition. Results of the study showed that sensory panelists were unable to detect any differences in tenderness, juiciness or flavor between steaks from carcasses classified by USDA graders using current skeletal and lean maturity observations.

According to projections from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, with this modernization producers would yield approximately $59 million in additional revenue by removing discounts for cattle identified as greater than 30 months of age.

I request that the USDA AMS adds the following language to section 54.104, paragraph k, of the Standards:

Carcasses of grain-fed steers and heifers determined to be less than 30 months old either by dentition (assessed at the time of slaughter under the supervision of USDA-FSIS) or by documentation of actual age (verified through a USDA Process Verified Program or USDA Quality System Assessment) are included in the youngest maturity group for carcasses recognized as “beef” (A-maturity) regardless of skeletal evidences of maturity.

This is a request to modernize the beef grading system to take into account the most recent research available and more accurately assign carcass maturity based on available data.

I respectfully ask AMS to modernize the current U.S. Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef to include the use of dentition for age verification.

Thank you for your consideration of this important change.



If you have any questions, please contact NCBA Washington DC Office at 202-347-0228.





South Dakota Cattlemen's Association
116 N. Euclid, Suite C, Pierre SD 57501      P (605) 945-2333      @ E-mail Us
Copyright 2017 South Dakota Cattlemen's Association. All rights reserved.