Automated Beef Grading Hits A Snag, Causing A Dip In Prime Grade Beef Supply
by Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly
Posted: 2017-11-27 16:18:53 EST

If you enjoy eating or smoking Prime grade beef, prepare for a dip in the national supply. A new carcass camera-grading technology, likely due to inaccuracy, provided elevated marbling scores to USDA graders from February through mid-October. The Gigabit Ethernet, or “Gig E,” is used to determine the grade of half the nation’s beef, and a recent correction in the calibration has sent the supply of Prime and Choice beef tumbling down.

The USDA’s primary job is to ensure the safety of the meat you consume. Their inspectors are sent to slaughterhouses across the country, at taxpayer expense, to make sure filthy carcasses don’t enter the food supply. But there’s another arm of the USDA that inspects for meat quality. They show up to the packing plants on the packers’ dimes and determine beef grades: Prime being the best, followed by Choice, Select, and the rest.

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