Standards allow buyers and sellers of poultry, rabbits, and shell eggs to specify the level of quality required or expected for a product without having to see or examine products in advance. Buyers and sellers often refer to U.S. standards in their trading specifications and contracts (e.g., "Product must meet U.S. Grade A requirements").
At the option of the buyer or seller, and for a service fee, products can also be officially graded by USDA. Labels for ready-to-cook poultry and rabbit products and shell eggs that include the USDA grade shield indicate that USDA has officially graded that product and that the product met all requirements of the designated quality standard.
Current U.S. Poultry, Rabbit, and Shell Egg Standards
AMS Poultry Programs maintains the current U.S. poultry, rabbit, and shell egg standards.
- Poultry (AMS 70.200 et. seq.) [PDF]
- Rabbit (AMS 70.300 et. seq.) [PDF]
- Shell Eggs (AMS 56) [PDF]
For a printed copy of any of these standards, please contact:
Standards and Technology Division
STOP 0259, Room 2633-South
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
Telephone: (202) 690-3148
FAX: (202) 690-0941
Changing current standards and developing new standards
When current standards are changed and new standards are developed, notices about these activities are published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register Rules and Notices
page contains information about these notices.