VIA instrument grading

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Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2004
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Central Upstate New York
Beef Board: Instrument Assessment Of Beef Makes Major Strides In 10 Years

Beef grading has been a vital marketing service provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since the 1920s. Consumers, through retail, restaurant, and commercial food service buyers, have come to rely on USDA Prime, Choice, and Select as symbols of quality. Much of the U.S. beef supply chain depends on official USDA beef grades as the underlying basis for carcass value and for negotiating product price. Consequently, grading accuracy and consistency are highly important, especially as the industry transitions towards instrument grading.

In an effort to improve the consistency and accuracy of beef carcass grade and factor assessment, the USDA has approved grading instruments to assist in determining the official quality and yield grades and in evaluating factors for certified branded beef programs.

In 2005, the first video image analysis (VIA) system for instrument grading was approved by the USDA to augment yield grade application and in 2006, marbling assessment by VIA was approved. With the proven abilities of VIA instruments to assess beef carcasses for yield and quality traits, USDA has established a series of standards for the use of VIA technologies in current grading procedures.

Checkoff funding is currently being used to implement existing technologies for evaluating quality grade and to investigate technologies for predicting beef tenderness.

For more information about improvements made in the last 10 years in instrument grading, and methods being researched, visit and click on Product Enhancement Research Executive Summaries.

Source:, accessed 1/29/09

Michael J. Baker, PhD, PAS 607-255-5923 (phone)
Beef Cattle Extension Specialist 607-255-9829 (fax)
114 Morrison Hall [email protected]
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

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