USDA Revises the Meat Instrument Grading Procedures

January 29, 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing revisions to its procedures for the use of instrument technology in its official meat grading program and is seeking input through a public comment period. The proposed changes outline several key enhancements to ensure USDA grading is delivered with the highest levels of consistency and accuracy.

AMS proposed and sought public feedback on an initial set of procedural changes in January 2023. AMS received a number of comments from stakeholders that necessitated a revision to the proposed documents. To ensure all stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on the revised versions, AMS has posted copies on the Agency’s website at Carcass Instrument Grading and is seeking comments until Feb. 12, 2024.

If the comments received are not substantive and do not require more time for evaluation, the Instrument Approval Process Procedure (QAD 511) and the Instrument Installation Process Procedure (QAD 512) will take effect Feb. 26, 2024, and the Instrument Monitoring Procedure (QAD 513) will take effect July 1, 2024. Final versions will be posted on the AMS website on the effective dates.

AMS is committed to an ongoing and collaborative process with all stakeholders to ensure these procedures remain relevant, transparent, and in service of an efficient and accurate USDA beef grading system.

AMS will host a webinar on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, at 3:00 PM Eastern Time to provide additional information about the procedures.  To attend the webinar, register online. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For questions or to request additional information, please contact David Bowden, Director of the Standards and Specification Division, at (202)-316-6969 or

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender