In general, consumers always look for the freshest and cleanest beef in the market; The USDA designates beef in 8 grades, which informs us about the degree of freshness. Having beef graded isn’t compulsory, so only the most reputable meat producers are willing to hire certified graders. Thus, if we see an USDA-approved grade on the packaging, we could be certain that the meat has relatively better overall quality. Graders also check the meat for the shape and age.
They check the texture of the muscle as well as the color and texture of the meat. Meat with proper fat marbling is more flavourful and adequate for steak. USDA grades for meat are
In general, only meat producers that can offer standard above Standard or Select are willing to get their products graded. Anything below the Standard grade is adequate for canning and common dishes such as stews. It should be noted that USDA has replaced the wording from “Good” to “Select” due to common notion that fat can be bad for our body.
In general, beef with higher quality has more meat, because it contributes directly to the tenderness and flavour. This should prevent anyone from thinking that meat with “Good” grade is actually good for their health.
Today, we see many different phrases to designate beef, such as all natural, grass fed, organic and free range. The price of these premium meats is often staggering, because it may take more labor to produce high quality meat. These designations are not graded by an official body, because they are standardized grades. However, many people prefer to eat beef from cows that are raised in more natural ways.
Meat is among the most expensive foodstuffs we find in the market. Even so, any butcher would say that their profit margin is actually not too big. In some cases, supermarkets gain only a few cents for each pound of meat sold.
Meats are important part of our diet, because they can provide us with more fat and protein. In any case, we should purchase meat that meets our requirements and healthy standard. But often, meat with lower USDA grade can still provide nearly similar nutrients compared higher graded products, especially when we consider that lower graded meat have less fat, making them healthier to eat.