Carcass beef is normally sold by its "hanging" weight. This weight includes approximately 25% fat & bone. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed voluntary grades for quality & yield of carcass beef. Quality grades relate to tenderness & flavor & include, in decreasing order, USDA Prime, Choice, Good, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter & Canner, with Prime being the most flavorable grade. Consumers should disregard any other descriptive meat terms other than government grading. For example, "U.S. Fancy", "USDA Grade A" & "Premium" are not government grades. Consumers are advised to: 1) Understand all costs that are included in the price per pound such as processing & 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. 2) Arrange to select meat & 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 & wrapped. 3) Be cautious of such phrases as "Beef Bundles", or "Steak packages". Make sure the representative specifies in writing the USDA grade, the type & the quantity of the various cuts. 4) Read & understand the terms of the contract before signing.
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