Agricultural Marketing Service
About AMS Newsroom Opportunity Online Forms Help Contact Us
Search AMS
   Browse by Subject
You are here: Home / History
Grading Certification and Verification
Standardization Division History  
The Standardization Division develops, promulgates, and revises the official U.S. grade standards for wool, mohair, and live animals and carcasses from the red meat species. Also, the Division performs a similar function for Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications, Federal and non-Federal specifications used to procure red meats. The meat grade standards and various meat purchase specifications, widely used by industry to market meat and meat products, serve as a guide for consumers who want to buy high-quality meat. Live grade standards are used as a reference for trading and reporting on the hog, cattle, and sheep markets and also for settling futures contracts. Standards and specifications form the basis of the Livestock and Seed Program's meat grading and certification, market news, and Federal red meat procurement programs.

The Standardization Divisionís work benefits virtually all Americans. Consumers can buy USDA graded beef or lamb in a restaurant or meat market with confidence in the quality of the meat. In addition, the Divisionís services help Federal, State, and local institutions purchase red meat products that comply with contractual requirements.

The Divisionís technical personnel participate in research projects conducted by land-grant universities, and they demonstrate live animal and carcass evaluations at livestock shows and meat judging contests. Frequently, Division staff members respond to producer, packer, and consumer questions on grade standards and meat purchase specifications. The Division handles technical training for new and existing employees.

Through its services, the Standardization Division provides a quality guide for consumers of wool, mohair, livestock, meat, and related products, while also managing the Program's link to research, academia, and animal and meat science students.

  Last Modified Date: 08/10/2012