Input sought on meat grading changes

WINNIPEG — The Canadian Beef Grading Agency is looking for public comment by Aug. 31 about proposed changes to the yield and grade classifications on beef, veal and bison.

The agency wants Canada to have five yield classifications, rather than the current three. This would bring Canada more in line with the United States and Mexico and might eventually lead to a North American meat standard, said Cindy Delaloye, head of the grading agency.

However, more scientific analysis on modern carcasses is needed, she said at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association semi annual meeting in Winnipeg Aug. 11-14.

The U.S. system’s five yield grade classes are more than 50 years old and were based on the cutout of 160 carcasses, including dairy animals.

“Our yield grade was based in a 1992 cutout of 620 carcasses. I think our algorithm is more substantial, but it is not perfect,” she said.

Scientists at Agriculture Canada are completing a project that could provide far more detail about the actual salable red meat found in a carcass.

“This will help us develop a new algorithm for establishing a yield grade,” said Delaloye.

Canadian graders use a specially designed ruler on the ribeye surface between the 12th and 13th rib when there is some question on the yield.

Delaloye said it is more accurate than a visual appraisal, but it is not as precise as it could be.

The document on which the agency is seeking comments is available online. If approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency it could become part of the regulations of the Safe Food for Canadians Act. It would not come into effect until the regulations are published in Canada Gazette II.

The document can be found at: _May_2015.pdf.

Comments may be forwarded before Aug. 31.

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