Kara Wilson, daughter of 2011 Master Farmer award winner Loran Wilson, Orleans, and his wife, Kathy, spends her career traveling the country promoting Certified Angus Beef. She is marketing manager for the company, based in Wooster, Ohio. It's likely no coincidence that although the Wilson's feed out other breeds of cattle, they also operate a registered Angus herd.
Following the theme of what's real and what's not with dairy, just because a product is marketed as Angus beef doesn't mean that it can carry the label of Certified Angus Beef, Wilson says. The brand is reserved for animals that meet a strict set of qualifications. In fact, the carcass must meet 10 stringent quality parameters set out by the company, and upheld by USDA.
Typically, packers consider a carcass from a predominantly black-hided animal as Angus type. There is a variety of marketing programs and campaigns that promote Angus beef. However, Wilson says that if it doesn't carry the Certified Angus Beef logo, then the meat hasn't been examined for the quality characteristics that must be met for a product to earn the brand.
USDA graders verify if a carcass meets Certified Angus Beef standards after inspecting the carcass at the slaughter plant. The qualifications are so restrictive that only about one in four cattle of the Angus bred produce carcasses that qualify to be cut into cuts for Certified Angus Beef.
The most elite brand is Certified Angus Beef, prime cut. That refers to the USDA grading system of prime, choice and standard meat grades. Less than 1.5% of beef qualifies to be Certified Angus Beef brand Prime, Wilson notes.Money that the company makes goes back into helping branded partners market the Certified Angus Beef product, Wilson adds.