USDA Updates the Procedures for Instrument Enhanced Grading for Beef Carcasses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is updating the procedures for the Instrument Enhanced Grading program for beef carcass grading as outlined in Quality Assessment Division (QAD) 511. These updated procedures, effective September 21, 2020, state the requirements for establishments that wish to use plant personnel to apply USDA’s Beef Grading Standards using approved instrument technology.

On January 14, 2020, AMS published a notice seeking comments on procedures for the Instrument Enhanced Grading program for beef carcasses. AMS made the QAD 511 changes based on the feedback received. The final document with these changes can be found at:

The updated procedures clarify section 4.2.f related to the verification and identification of camera components, update section 5.3 to clarify gross non-compliance and update section 5.5 to include the passing scores for both the written and carcass correlation test and to add language that allows for possible reductions in the testing requirement for employees.

If you have questions about the updates, please contact Chad Nelson, National Meat Supervisor, Standards and Specifications Division, Livestock and Poultry Program, at (402) 281-8704 or at