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AMS Dairy Official Quality Shields

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Grade AA, A or B - This shield applies to butter and cheeses that have United States grade standards. These standards are based on measurable attributes, such as flavor, body, and texture that describe the value and utility of the product. USDA must grade the butter and cheese in the final package. The designated grade could be AA, A, or B. Currently, AA is only used for butter.

U.S. Extra Grade - This shield applies to dairy products, such as non-fat dry milk and bulk American cheese, that have grade designations other than letters. Any product with this label attached would have to be graded prior to the product leaving the control of the manufacturing facility.

USDA Quality Approved - This shield is applied to any dairy product package that does not have an established United States grade standard. This shield could be used on margarine or a non-standardized cheese, and reflects USDA's evaluation of flavor, body, texture, and other quality attributes. Any product with this label attached would have to be graded prior to the product leaving the control of the manufacturing facility.