The Standardization Branch's (SB) core function is to provide programs that facilitate the marketing of livestock, meat, poultry, rabbits and shell eggs through common trade language. A primary responsibility is to establish and maintain U.S. Standards
for grades of shell eggs, live meat animals, poultry, rabbits and the carcasses and cuts they produce. The grades (e.g., Prime, Choice, Select, U.S. Grade AA, U.S. Grade A) within the standards differentiate the quality of the meat and egg products ultimately consumed and are the basis for value determinations used in marketing throughout the supply chain from producer to consumer.
SB staff also manages a number of other programs aimed at facilitating domestic and international trade through common nomenclature, such as the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications
, a set of meat product specifications for use by large volume food buyers; U.S. Trade Descriptions for Poultry
, a set of poultry product specifications used in domestic and international trade; maintenance of certain Marketing Claim Standards
; and management of carcass certification programs
LPS, AMS, U.S. Department of Agriculture