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Grading Certification and Verification
QAD Certification Services  
Meat Certification Services provide assurance to large-quantity buyers such as hospitals, schools, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and the military that products comply with their requirements. Under the certifications service, meat graders review and certify livestock, meat, and meat products according to buyer specifications. The Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS) are an example of some of the specifications used to certify meats.

The Product Examination Service is available to meatpackers, wholesalers, brokers, carriers, and their insurance agents. A meat grader reviews meat or meat products, and issues a certificate which identifies the product's physical characteristics to the requesting party. Depending on the request, the certificate may include a report on freezer burn, thawing and refreezing, cleanliness, freshness, temperature, weight ranges, fat thickness, etc. Certificates are frequently used as evidence to verify claims. They are accepted as prima facie evidence by all Federal and most State courts.

The Process Control Certification Program offers further processors an alternative to traditional USDA certification of further processed donated meat. This program is intended to add value to further processed donated red meat commodities by monitoring and verifying the process control of all aspects of meat processing.

The Contract Acceptance Service ensures the integrity and quality of poultry and further processed poultry products purchased by volume food buyers such as food manufacturers, food service operators, food retailers, exporters, and brokers. USDA specialists help institutional buyers develop and prepare explicit poultry specifications tailored to their requirements.

Examination and Certification of Meats for Commodity Exchange Specifications ensure that products destined for contract delivery meet commodity trading specifications. For example, prior to delivery, pork bellies are statistically sampled and examined for condition, defects, and weight ranges, thus grouping the bellies into various price ranges per the CME pork belly specifications. Certification allows for accurate representation and conformance of the bellies traded on the commodity exchange. Beef carcasses may also be certified for contract delivery.

Live Animal and Carcasses Specifications allow breed associations, distributors, and other industry organizations to use Live Animal and Carcass Specifications to group carcasses into specific and uniform breed and quality ranges. Certification may include quality attributes of the carcass such as maturity and marbling. Live animals may be certified for hair coat color and other characteristics. Parties interested in initiating a specification for live or carcass attributes may contact the Meat Grading and Certification Branch or the Standardization Branch.

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  Last Modified Date: 02/02/2015