November 10, 2006
November 10, 2006 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Livestock and Seed (LS) Program announced the approval of two image-based instrument grading systems for the determination of beef carcass marbling scores for use in the evaluation of official USDA quality grades for carcass beef.
The two instruments approved are the VBS2000 and the Computer Vision System. The systems were found appropriate for objectively predicting marbling scores accurately and precisely for use in the evaluation of beef carcasses for quality grade, certification programs and carcass data information programs.
Although these systems have been approved, their use in the official grading process is contingent upon users having a written plan approved by the LS Program to verify the instrument's ongoing, in-plant operational accuracy.
In a letter from Paul Frischknecht, president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), to Martin O'Connor of the LS program, he stated, "The sheep industry believes that the development of performance standards, the evaluation of instrument assessment technologies and ultimately the use of them will help enhance the processing efficiency, aid in more accurate pricing and improve the competitiveness of U.S. sheep meat products. ASI is excited about the potential that newer technologies may bring more precise and accurate assessment of lamb carcass quality, lean yield and value."
In conclusion, Frischknecht requested that AMS develop performance standards for instrument prediction of factors and/or grades for lamb carcasses that will provide a uniform and consistent evaluation with precision and accuracy.
The standards for the instrument grading of beef carcasses can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/ls-st.htm
. Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 303-771-3500