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Grading Certification and Verification
 
Quality Assessment Division  
The Quality Assessment Division (QAD), a division of the Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program (LPS) provides grading, auditing, certification and standardization activities for poultry, red meat, shell eggs and related commodities. The majority of QAD’s services are provided on a voluntary, fee-for-service basis and accomplished through 850 highly-trained USDA graders, auditors, and support staff nationwide.

 
Grading and certification services provide independent verification that specific standards or specifications about a product are met. Our services allow the use of well-recognized grade shields (including USDA Prime, USDA Choice, USDA Grade AA, USDA Grade A, etc.) which can ultimately increase the product’s market value and thereby creating value for producers and others in the marketing chain.

 
Audit-based services allow producers to make specific claims or to assure customers of their ability to provide consistent quality products or services. These claims can cover raising, feeding, handling, processing, labeling practices, or other practices and processes that differentiate a product. Examples of familiar claims verified under these programs include “USDA Certified Tender”, “USDA Process Verified”, and “USDA Certified Grass Fed”.

 
Services Provided:

 
Grading and Certification Services: Voluntary grading and certification service where USDA quality grade marks are applied to commodities based on USDA quality standards, indicating their quality to wholesalers and consumers in turn offering industry a valuable tool in marketing their products.

 
Auditing Services: Voluntary process verification programs and services assist in the marketing of agricultural products.

 
Standards Services: Develops and maintains the U.S. Standards for shell eggs, meat, and poultry. Participates in national and international standard setting organizations with the objective of facilitating the marketing of U.S. agricultural products.

 
QAD also administers several regulatory programs, including Shell Egg Surveillance and Public law 272 – PDF

 
Contact Us:

 
Jennifer Porter, Director
Quality Assessment Division
LPS, AMS, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Stop 0258, Room 3932-South
1400 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20250-0258
(202) 720-3271 (phone)
(202) 690-2746 (fax)

 
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Resources
 
  QAD Org Chart - PDF  
 
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News
 
  February 18, 2015 - Letter to Stakeholders  
 
  February 10, 2015 - Notice to the Trade: Egg Export Requirements Available on Website  
 
  February 6 - Notice to the Trade: Change to Carcass Grading Procedures  
 
  January 30, 2015 - Notice to Trade: Revision to QAD Staffing Guidelines - PDF  
 
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  Last Modified Date: 02/25/2015