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Comments sought on proposed changes to pork grade standards

Proposed revisions appeared in Oct. 23 Federal Register. Comments due Dec. 22, 2017.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to the U.S. Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses. The proposed revision would assist pork producers and processors by better aligning the grades with consumer expectations.

USDA Grade Standards, like the standards for pork, allow producers, businesses and consumers to identify a commodity by uniform groups of similar quality, yield, or value – helping facilitate the fair marketing of U.S. agricultural products.  AMS works with stakeholders to establish and revise U.S. grade standards for nearly 240 agricultural products.

When there is a need, AMS considers changes to its official grade standards to ensure they continue to serve their intended purpose.  Over the last several years, extensive research on pork quality, consumer preferences, and other factors affecting the marketing of domestic pork provided the basis for the proposed revision.

The current pork standards were last revised in 1985 and are no longer considered by the industry to reflect the value differences in today’s pork products.  The proposed change would allow industry to once again utilize the grade standards as a meaningful tool for communicating pork quality between buyers and sellers.

The proposed revision appeared in the October 23, 2017, Federal Register.  Comments may be posted online at, submitted by email to, or sent to: Pork Carcass Revisions, Standardization Branch, Quality Assessment Division; Livestock Poultry and Seed Program, AMS, USDA; 1400 Independence Ave., SW.; Room 3932-S, STOP 0258; Washington, D.C. 20250-0258.

Comments received will be posted without change, including any personal information provided.  All comments should reference the docket number (AMS-LPS-17-0046), the date of submission, and the page number of the issue of the Federal Register.

Comments must be received by December 22, 2017.

Contact Bucky Gwartney, International Marketing Specialist, Quality Assessment Division at (202) 720-1424 or via email at with any questions.

Source: USDA AMS

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