United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef, 48112-48113 [2014-19309]

Download as PDF 48112 Notices Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 158 Friday, August 15, 2014 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Doc. No. AMS–LPS–14–0052] United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice, request for comments. AGENCY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on revising the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef. USDA is requesting comments concerning, but not limited to, the beef yield grade standard and carcass maturity. The current standards do not adequately reflect the genetic and production changes that have taken place in the cattle population since 1965 when a cutability or yield grade standard was first adopted. In 1997, the maturity requirements were changed to improve uniformity and consistency. Since that time, research has indicated that carcasses from fed steers and heifers less than 30 months of age, based on dentition, should be classified ‘‘A’’ maturity for grading purposes even though the skeletal maturity characteristics of ‘‘B’’ or older may be present. Industry and other groups have discussed the possibility of changing the grade standards for carcass beef with AMS. SUMMARY: Comments on revising the standard are due no later than November 13, 2014. ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Beef Carcass Revisions, Standardization Branch, LPS Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., STOP 0258, Washington, DC 20250. Comments may also be sent by fax to: (202) 690–2746 or by email to: (beefcarcassrevisions@ams.usda.gov). For additional information, please emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:31 Aug 14, 2014 Jkt 232001 contact Lawrence Yates at: Lawrence.Yates@ams.usda.gov, or (402) 621–0836. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 203(c) of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended, directs and authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture ‘‘to develop and improve standards of quality, condition, quantity, grade, and packaging and recommend and demonstrate such standards in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in commercial practices.’’ AMS is committed to carrying out this authority in a manner that facilitates the marketing of agricultural commodities and makes copies of official standards available upon request. The United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef do not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations but are maintained by USDA. These standards are located on USDA’s Web site at http:// www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/LSSTDZ. on the right side of the Web page select Standards to locate the Beef Carcass Grade Standard. To change the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef, AMS plans to utilize the procedures it published in the August 13, 1997, Federal Register and that appear in part 36 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 36). Background: Federal beef grading is a voluntary fee for service program, provided under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.). A primary purpose of grades is to divide the population of cattle and beef into uniform groups (of similar quality, yield, value, etc.), in order to facilitate marketing. Grades provide a simple, effective means of describing a product that is easily understood by both buyers and sellers. By identifying separate and distinct segments of a commodity, grades enable buyers to obtain that particular portion of the entire range of a commodity that meets their individual needs. At the same time, grades are important in transmitting information to cattlemen to help ensure informed decisions are made. For example, the market preference for a particular grade of beef is communicated to cattle producers so they can adjust their production accordingly. When beef is voluntarily graded, the official grade consists of a quality grade and/or a yield grade. The quality grades are intended to identify differences in PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the palatability or eating satisfaction of cooked beef principally through the characteristics of marbling and maturity. The principal official USDA quality grades for young (maturity groups ‘‘A’’ and ‘‘B’’) cattle and carcasses are Prime, Choice, Select, and Standard. USDA recognizes that the beef standards must be relevant to be of greatest value to stakeholders. Recommendations for changes in the standards may be initiated by USDA or by interested parties. The beef yield grade standard and equation was developed 50 years ago, and the cattle industry has undergone considerable change during those years. At that time, carcasses weighed in the 500 to 600 pound weight range. Today, carcasses average weight is in the 800 to 900 pound range, a 50 percent increase. These carcasses are clearly beyond the scope of USDA’s current yield grade equation. This is illustrated by research1 that has shown the application of the USDA’s yield grade equation introduces a ribeye area bias, thereby skewing carcass values. It is imperative that the current yield grade standard and associated metrics be applicable to today’s carcass population. Significant changes (such as feeding regimes—grass fed versus grain fed, instrument grading, management, and export requirements) have taken place in the beef industry since the current grade standards were adopted. Research 2 revealed physiological maturity and its relation to chronological age, as estimated by dentition, results in a gender-dependent maturity misclassification. Further, carcasses from fed cattle under 30 months of age resulted in equivalent tenderness and trained taste panel assessments between ‘‘A’’ and ‘‘B’’ maturity groups.3 Gender bias in maturity misclassification of carcasses from cattle under 30 months results in decreased carcass value even though tenderness and expert taste panel outcomes are the same. Grades of beef carcasses are intended to be related both in value and with consumer acceptance. Collectively, the above discussion indicates that the current standards may 1 Lawrence et al., 2008, Journal of Animal Science 86:1434 2 Lawrence et al., 2001, Journal of Animal Science 79:1683 3 Acheson et al., 2014, Journal of Animal Science 92:1792 E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 158 / Friday, August 15, 2014 / Notices be improved by reexamining beef carcass yield grade as well as the methodology for maturity assessment. AMS is soliciting comments from stakeholders about whether changes in the beef carcass yield grade standards and the methodology for maturity assessment should be made, and if so, what specific changes should be made. If, after analyzing the comments, AMS determines that changes are warranted, a notice will be published in the Federal Register proposing specific changes. Interested parties will have an opportunity to comment prior to a final decision adopting any changes. AMS is also soliciting comments on a review of the Department’s beef instrument-grading program that was conducted by the American Meat Science Association in response to a USDA Office of Inspector General Report No. 50601–0002–31, issued July 2013. The beef grading instrument uses elements of the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef. The report and review are available at http:// www.ams.usda.gov/ PublicationsInstrumentGradingSystems. Dated: August 11, 2014. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2014–19309 Filed 8–14–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS–2014–0018] Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA. ACTION: Notice of public meeting and request for comments. AGENCY: The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), are sponsoring a public meeting on October 23, 2014. The objective of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States (U.S.) positions that will be discussed at the 46th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), in Lima, Peru, November 17–21, 2014. The Under Secretary for Food Safety and the FDA recognize the importance of providing emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:31 Aug 14, 2014 Jkt 232001 interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 46th Session of CCFH and to address items on the agenda. DATES: The public meeting is scheduled for October 23, 2014, from 1:00–4:00 p.m. The public meeting will take place at the Jamie L. Whitten Building, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 107–A, Washington, DC 20250. Documents related to the 46th Session of the CCFH will be accessible via the World Wide Web at the following address: http:// www.codexalimentarius.org/meetingsreports/en/. Jenny Scott, U.S. Delegate to the 46th Session of the CCFH, invites U.S. interested parties to submit their comments electronically to the following email address Jenny.Scott@ fda.hhs.gov. Call In Number: If you wish to participate in the public meeting for the 46th Session of the CCFH by conference call, please use the call in number listed below. Call in Number: 1–888–844–9904. The participant code will be listed on the following link closer to the meeting date. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/ portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/ us-codex-alimentarius/public-meetings. For Further Information About the 46th Session of CCFH Contact: Jenny Scott, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, HFS–300, Room 3B–014, College Park, MD 20740–3835, Phone: (240) 402–2166, Fax: (202) 436–2632, Email: Jenny.Scott@fda.hhs.gov For Further Information About the Public Meeting Contact: Barbara McNiff, U.S. Codex Office, 1400 Independence Ave SW., Room 4861, Washington, DC, 20250, Phone: (202) 690–4719, Fax: (202) 720–3157, Email: Barbara.McNiff@ fsis.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: Background Codex was established in 1963 by two United Nations organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. Through adoption of food standards, codes of practice, and other guidelines developed by its committees, and by promoting their adoption and implementation by governments, Codex seeks to protect the health of consumers and ensure that fair practices are used in the food trade. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 48113 The CCFH is responsible for: (a) Drafting basic provisions on food hygiene applicable to all food; (b) Considering, amending if necessary, and endorsing provisions on hygiene prepared by Codex commodity committees and contained in Codex commodity standards; (c) Considering, amending if necessary, and endorsing provisions on hygiene prepared by Codex commodity committees and contained in Codex codes of practice unless, in specific cases, the Commission has decided otherwise; (d) Drafting provisions on hygiene applicable to specific food items or food groups, whether coming within the terms of reference of a Codex commodity committee or not; (e) Considering specific hygiene problems assigned to it by the Commission; (f) Suggesting and prioritizing areas where there is a need for microbiological risk assessment at the international level and developing questions to be addressed by the risk assessors; and (g) Considering microbiological risk management matters in relation to food hygiene, including food irradiation, and in relation to the risk assessment of FAO/WHO. The CCFH is hosted by the United States. Issues To Be Discussed at the Public Meeting The following items on the Agenda for the 46th Session of the CCFH will be discussed during the public meeting: • Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Moisture Foods • Draft Guidelines for Control of Specific Zoonotic Parasites in Meat: Trichinella spp. • Proposed Draft Guidelines for the Control of Non typhoidal Salmonella spp. In Beef and Pork Meat • Proposed Draft Guidelines on the Application of General Principles of Food Hygiene to the Control of Foodborne Parasites. • Proposed Draft Annex on statistical and mathematical considerations to the Principles and Guidelines for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological criteria Related to Foods • Discussion paper on the need to revise the Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables • Proposals for new work Each issue listed will be fully described in documents distributed, or to be distributed, by the Secretariat prior to the Committee meeting. Members of E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 158 (Friday, August 15, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48112-48113]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-19309]


========================================================================
Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 158 / Friday, August 15, 2014 / 
Notices

[[Page 48112]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

[Doc. No. AMS-LPS-14-0052]


United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice, request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on revising the United 
States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef. USDA is requesting 
comments concerning, but not limited to, the beef yield grade standard 
and carcass maturity. The current standards do not adequately reflect 
the genetic and production changes that have taken place in the cattle 
population since 1965 when a cutability or yield grade standard was 
first adopted. In 1997, the maturity requirements were changed to 
improve uniformity and consistency. Since that time, research has 
indicated that carcasses from fed steers and heifers less than 30 
months of age, based on dentition, should be classified ``A'' maturity 
for grading purposes even though the skeletal maturity characteristics 
of ``B'' or older may be present. Industry and other groups have 
discussed the possibility of changing the grade standards for carcass 
beef with AMS.

DATES: Comments on revising the standard are due no later than November 
13, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Beef Carcass Revisions, 
Standardization Branch, LPS Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., 
SW., STOP 0258, Washington, DC 20250. Comments may also be sent by fax 
to: (202) 690-2746 or by email to: (beefcarcassrevisions@ams.usda.gov). 
For additional information, please contact Lawrence Yates at: 
Lawrence.Yates@ams.usda.gov, or (402) 621-0836.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 203(c) of the Agricultural Marketing 
Act of 1946, as amended, directs and authorizes the Secretary of 
Agriculture ``to develop and improve standards of quality, condition, 
quantity, grade, and packaging and recommend and demonstrate such 
standards in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in 
commercial practices.'' AMS is committed to carrying out this authority 
in a manner that facilitates the marketing of agricultural commodities 
and makes copies of official standards available upon request. The 
United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef do not appear in the 
Code of Federal Regulations but are maintained by USDA. These standards 
are located on USDA's Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/LSSTDZ. on the right side of the Web page select Standards to locate 
the Beef Carcass Grade Standard. To change the United States Standards 
for Grades of Carcass Beef, AMS plans to utilize the procedures it 
published in the August 13, 1997, Federal Register and that appear in 
part 36 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 36).
    Background: Federal beef grading is a voluntary fee for service 
program, provided under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as 
amended (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.). A primary purpose of grades is to 
divide the population of cattle and beef into uniform groups (of 
similar quality, yield, value, etc.), in order to facilitate marketing. 
Grades provide a simple, effective means of describing a product that 
is easily understood by both buyers and sellers. By identifying 
separate and distinct segments of a commodity, grades enable buyers to 
obtain that particular portion of the entire range of a commodity that 
meets their individual needs. At the same time, grades are important in 
transmitting information to cattlemen to help ensure informed decisions 
are made. For example, the market preference for a particular grade of 
beef is communicated to cattle producers so they can adjust their 
production accordingly.
    When beef is voluntarily graded, the official grade consists of a 
quality grade and/or a yield grade. The quality grades are intended to 
identify differences in the palatability or eating satisfaction of 
cooked beef principally through the characteristics of marbling and 
maturity. The principal official USDA quality grades for young 
(maturity groups ``A'' and ``B'') cattle and carcasses are Prime, 
Choice, Select, and Standard.
    USDA recognizes that the beef standards must be relevant to be of 
greatest value to stakeholders. Recommendations for changes in the 
standards may be initiated by USDA or by interested parties. The beef 
yield grade standard and equation was developed 50 years ago, and the 
cattle industry has undergone considerable change during those years. 
At that time, carcasses weighed in the 500 to 600 pound weight range. 
Today, carcasses average weight is in the 800 to 900 pound range, a 50 
percent increase. These carcasses are clearly beyond the scope of 
USDA's current yield grade equation. This is illustrated by research\1\ 
that has shown the application of the USDA's yield grade equation 
introduces a ribeye area bias, thereby skewing carcass values. It is 
imperative that the current yield grade standard and associated metrics 
be applicable to today's carcass population.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Lawrence et al., 2008, Journal of Animal Science 86:1434
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Significant changes (such as feeding regimes--grass fed versus 
grain fed, instrument grading, management, and export requirements) 
have taken place in the beef industry since the current grade standards 
were adopted. Research \2\ revealed physiological maturity and its 
relation to chronological age, as estimated by dentition, results in a 
gender-dependent maturity misclassification. Further, carcasses from 
fed cattle under 30 months of age resulted in equivalent tenderness and 
trained taste panel assessments between ``A'' and ``B'' maturity 
groups.\3\ Gender bias in maturity misclassification of carcasses from 
cattle under 30 months results in decreased carcass value even though 
tenderness and expert taste panel outcomes are the same. Grades of beef 
carcasses are intended to be related both in value and with consumer 
acceptance. Collectively, the above discussion indicates that the 
current standards may

[[Page 48113]]

be improved by reexamining beef carcass yield grade as well as the 
methodology for maturity assessment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Lawrence et al., 2001, Journal of Animal Science 79:1683
    \3\ Acheson et al., 2014, Journal of Animal Science 92:1792
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    AMS is soliciting comments from stakeholders about whether changes 
in the beef carcass yield grade standards and the methodology for 
maturity assessment should be made, and if so, what specific changes 
should be made. If, after analyzing the comments, AMS determines that 
changes are warranted, a notice will be published in the Federal 
Register proposing specific changes. Interested parties will have an 
opportunity to comment prior to a final decision adopting any changes.
    AMS is also soliciting comments on a review of the Department's 
beef instrument-grading program that was conducted by the American Meat 
Science Association in response to a USDA Office of Inspector General 
Report No. 50601-0002-31, issued July 2013. The beef grading instrument 
uses elements of the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass 
Beef. The report and review are available at http://www.ams.usda.gov/PublicationsInstrumentGradingSystems.

    Dated: August 11, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-19309 Filed 8-14-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P