The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing standards for the accuracy and precision of electronic instrument grading systems for assessing yield (cutability) and quality grades in lamb carcasses. The Livestock and Seed Program issued a Notice to the Trade requesting comments on the proposed standards for the approval and use of these systems.
"The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has been working with USDA through a research agreement with Colorado State University on this important technology for several years," stated Mike Lippert, chair of ASI's Lamb Council. "We are anxious to see the appropriate standards finalized so that we can begin using it in our business."
Once approved under these standards, instrument grading systems may be used to assess the yield and quality grades in the official USDA grading process in accordance with USDA published procedures for the operation and maintenance of the technology.
USDA's lamb grading service provides third-party lamb carcass evaluation to segregate a large and diverse population into smaller, more homogeneous grades that are utilized in the price/value discovery process by both buyers and sellers of lamb. It is essential that USDA take all reasonable steps-including the adoption of new technology-to ensure the most accurate and consistent grading decision on a nationwide basis.
"ASI will be providing comments to this important technology and recommend that all interested parties should do the same," concluded Lippert.
To review the Notice to the Trade, go to www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5095989. The USDA Lamb Cutability Instrument Performance Standards are available at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5095992 and the USDA Lamb Quality Grade Instrument Performance Standards are available at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5095991. Additionally, the Standardization Division's general instrument page is available at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/PublicationsInstrumentGradingSystems.