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Grading Certification and Verification
Audit Services Branch  
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The Quality Assessment Division’s (QAD) Audit Services Branch (ASB) within the Agricultural Marketing Service, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, provides a family of user-fee-funded, audit based third-party verification programs and services to the agricultural industry under its Quality Systems Verification Programs (QSVP). The QSVP are designed to provide suppliers the opportunity to assure customers of their ability to provide consistent quality products or services. Under a QSVP, a supplier's documented quality management system is verified through independent third-party audits conducted by qualified QAD staff.

During an audit, a client’s documented quality management system is verified to assure customer requirements and marketing points are being adhered to. In order to ensure consistent auditing practices and promote international recognition of audit results, ASB auditors utilize the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 19011:2011 guidelines for quality management systems auditing. The QSVP General Policies and Procedures document describe the audit process in detail.

Within the umbrella of QSVP, there are three primary audit programs: Process Verified Program, Quality System Assessment Program and the Accreditation Program.

The USDA Process Verified Program provides companies the opportunity to make marketing claims associated with their process verified points – such as age, source, feeding practices, or other raising and processing claims - and market themselves as "USDA Process Verified" with use of the "USDA Process Verified" shield and term. All label claims that are associated with a PVP or not, must be approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to determine if they are truthful and not misleading when associated with meat, poultry, or egg products in commerce that were produced under Federal Inspection.

The USDA Quality System Assessment (QSA) Program provides companies a variety of verification options to market livestock, both domestically and abroad, including Export Verification Programs for beef, lamb, pork, poultry and eggs; Non-Hormone Treated Cattle Program, Never Fed Beta Agonist Program, and USDA Tenderness Program.

Accreditation Program
The ASB also conducts assessments of certification bodies to determine conformance to the ISO Guide ISO/IEC 17065:2012 Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services.


ASB offers several audit-based verification programs including the Grass Fed Program, Augmented Beef Grading Program, and Feed, Feedstuffs, and Pet Food Program

News and Information

For the latest news and information regarding audit services, visit the Newsroom.

Contact Us

Jeff Waite, Chief, Audit Services Branch
Quality Assessment Division
LPS, AMS, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Stop 0258, Room 3932-South
1400 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20250-0258
Phone: (202) 720-3271
Fax: (202) 690-2746

I Want To
  Request Audit Services  
  Go to QAD Billing Account Information  
  Ask Questions  
  Contact QAD - PDF  
  Use the USDA Process Verified shield and term  
  Find an Official Listing  
Rules and Policies
  QSVP General Policies and Procedures PDF  
  QAD Foreign Travel Policy PDF  
Media Help
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  Last Modified Date: 07/01/2015