AMS has begun approving companies for the new USDA Certified Tender and USDA Certified Very Tender Program.
“Working in concert with our USDA Beef Carcass Quality Grading Program and well-recognized grades such as USDA Prime, Choice and Select, this program will provided retailers with a new tool to help their customers identify what specific cuts of beef are consistently tender or very tender when compared to objective criteria that has been validated by extensive consumer research,” Dr. Craig Morris, Deputy Administrator AMS Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program.
On October 26, 2012, AMS announced the approval of the “Operational Requirements for the USDA Certification of American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) International Tenderness Marketing Claims.” The document describes the operational framework that entities interested in having a USDA certified tenderness program would need to follow. The key provision in the “Operational Requirements” document is that a tenderness program must statistically demonstrate (P < 0.05) compliance to the appropriate ASTM tenderness standard. The document is flexible enough to allow the use of future ASTM tenderness standards that are applicable to other species.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) works in concert with ASTM International to develop marketing claim standards that assist the marketing of livestock and meat products that are certified, graded, and/or verified by USDA for both domestic and the international marketplace. The ASTM F10 Marketing Claims subcommittee (F10.60) evaluates the needs and marketing issues relative to the tenderness initiative as well as other areas of consumer and industry interest. The subcommittee fosters the development of technical standards for product attribute claims used in livestock, meat and poultry marketing. The work of this committee is coordinated with other organizations and governmental entities having mutual interests.