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Grading Certification and Verification
QAD Grading and Certification  
The Grading branch uses university-researched, USDA-developed, and industry recognized standards. Grading determines the quality and yield of carcasses. Quality grades vary depending on the species.


Quality Grades
Yield Grades
Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner
Lamb and Yearling Mutton
Prime, Choice, Good, Utility, and Cull
Choice, Good, Utility, and Cull
Veal and Calf
Prime, Choice, Good, Standard, and Utility
Not applicable
Barrows and Gilts
U.S. No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and Utility
Not applicable
U.S. No. 1, 2, 3, Medium, and Cull
Not applicable
Chicken, Turkey, and Goose
A, no grade
Not applicable
A, no grade
Not applicable
Shell Eggs
AA, A,
Not applicable

Meat Grading – Beef, Lamb, Yearling Mutton, Mutton, Veal and Calves, Barrows and Gilts, and Sows are all eligible for grading and certification services provided by the QAD Grading Branch.

Poultry Grading - Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas, and pigeons are all eligible for grading and certification services provided by the QAD Grading Branch. These services are provided in accordance with Federal poultry grading regulations.

Shell Egg Grading - Shell eggs are produced on farms with a few thousand laying chickens or in large laying complexes with over a million layers. All shell eggs are eligible for the grading and certification services provided by the QAD Grading Branch.

The Diced Chicken QC Program – PDF is a written quality control program that documents the production procedures for bone removal and quality assurance protocol, the corrective and preventative actions, and product control procedures. Each year, the contractor/producer shall submit the written quality control program to AMS’ Contracting Officer for review and approval.

Carcass Grade Data facilitates the flow of carcass data -- quality and yield grade factors -- to producers and feeders. Carcass Grade Data provides data on carcass value -- determining characteristics to producers who were at some point financially interested in the live animal. The information provides producers and feeders a valuable management tool to use in their selection and feeding programs.


I Want Info On
  Fees for Service  
  Certification Services  
  Meat Grade Volume Reports and Publications  
  Meat Instructions and Procedures  
  Certified Meat Programs  
  Augmented Instrument Grading Program  
  USDA Poultry Grading Manual - PDF  
  List of Poultry and Egg Plants  
  Poultry Grading State Offices  
  Grade Shields and Marbling Pictures  
Additional Information
  QAD Contacts - PDF file  
Media Help
  Download Adobe Acrobat Reader  
  Last Modified Date: 09/11/2014