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Call for Scientific Review Before Change to Beef Standards

12 December 2014

US - American Meat Institute, the North American Meat Association (NAMA) and the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) have called for no changes to the US beef grade standards without a scientific review.

The meat industry organisations made the plea in comments submitted to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) against proposed changes to beef grade standards.

The comments were in response to a request from AMS.

The groups argue that any changes to the beef grade standards must be based on timely, thorough, targeted and peer-reviewed research that demonstrates the need for the revisions.

In addition, the proposed revisions must be developed using the best science and in a manner that avoids unintended consequences that have the potential to harm domestic producers, processors, and international markets.

In the comments the groups say: “The U.S. Beef Grading Standards and grading system are the envy of world markets. Through a science-based approach in developing the current standards and diligence in ensuring that the standards are accurately and precisely applied day-to-day, the U.S. Beef Grades are the “gold standard” brand for determining beef quality and yield.

“Literally, hundreds of millions of dollars in beef transactions on the domestic and international markets are made each day that rely on the U.S. Beef Grades as a contractual measure of quality and yield and the U.S. Beef Grade Standards are cited in many of our international trade agreements.

“Accordingly, U.S. Beef Grade Standards provide the foundation of the beef marketing system in the United States and trade with our international partners.

“AMS must not propose changes to the Beef Grade Standards until a thorough scientific review is performed by credible individuals and institutions to identify targeted research needs and the detailed research is completed.”

They conclude: “There is insufficient scientific evidence to support revisions to the US Beef Grade Standards.

“Any changes to the carcass beef grade standards must only be proposed after a credible body of scientific evidence demonstrates the need for changes. The United States enjoys the “gold standard” brand for beef grade standards and is the envy of world markets. For the foregoing reasons, AMS should move carefully and judiciously by relying on science and a systematic approach in proposing revisions to the beef grading standards.”

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