Educational Consumer Tips
Carcass beef is normally sold by its "Hanging" weight. This weight includes approximately 25% fat & bone. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed voluntary grades for quality and yield of carcass beef. Quality grades relate to tenderness and flavor. In decreasing order, they are: USDA prime choice, good standard, commercial, utility, cutter, and canner. Consumers should disregard meat terms other than government grading. For example, "U.S. fancy", "USDA grade A," and "premium" are not government grades.
Meat markets are required to be inspected by the USDA only if the meat is transported across state lines. Meat markets are regulated for meat safety the same as grocery stores, restaurants, etc. The company is inspected either by the state or the city health department.
Large quantities of meat may be ordered directly from a company or ordered on-line over the internet. These orders are delivered in the company's truck and the company identity should be clearly marked on the truck.
Some cities regulate door to door sales of meat. Us caution in purchasing meat from independent contractors selling meat of unmarked trucks.
Consumers are advised to:
1. Understand all costs included in the price per pound, such as
processing and finance charges.
2. Arrange to select meat and have it cut on the same day while
you are present.
3. Be cautious of such phrases as "Beef Bundles" or "Steak
4. Have in the writing the USDA grade, the type, and the quality
of various cuts.
5. Read and understand the terms of the contract before signing.