Educational Consumer Tips
Author: Better Business Bureau
The following comments provide general nformation for consumers and do not necessarily reflect the practices or record of any particular company.
Carcass beef is normally sold by its "hanging" weight. This weight includes approximately 25% fat and bone. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed voluntary grades for quality and yield of carcass beef. Quality grades relate to tenderness and flavor and include, in decreasing order, "USDA Prime", "Choice","Good","Standard", "Commercial","Utility", "Cutter" and "Canner", with "Prime" being the most desirable. You should disregard any other descriptive meat terms other than government grading. "US Fancy", USDA Grade A" and "Premium" are not government grades.
Consumers are advised to understand all costs included in the price per pound such as processing and finance charges. Don't be influenced by a "free" bonus offer of pork chops, turkey, chicken, etc. Their cost may be included in the price of what you buy. Arrange to select meat and have it cut on the same day while you are present. Most reliable dealers will allow you to be present when your selection of meat is cut and wrapped. Be cautious of such phrases as "beef bundles" or "steak packages". Make sure the representative specified in writing the USDA grade, the type and the quantity of the various cuts.
For door-to-door meat sales, be cautious of vendors selling from trucks that do not disclose the weight of the meat, but rather attempt to sell their products by the number of units. If you purchase meat, obtain a written receipt and read it very carefully before you pay for the product or sign anything. Sales made in the home of $25 or more require the seller to provide verbal and written notice of the three day cancellation priviledge by law.