Certified Angus Beef-- Brand Specifications Evolve


Oklahoma Farm Report

09 Sep 2020


To earn the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, Angus-influenced cattle, with predominantly solid black coats, must pass our must pass our 10 additional carcass specifications. Tomorrow those measures will get a slight update. Read more about it in this story by Kylee Kohls below.


“Meat heads” by education and experience, scientists and number crunchers gather to analyze the latest scatter plot. Coffee fuels the banter as they discuss where the figures point toward progress.


It’s Friday morning: analysis day for the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand packing team.


Meat scientist Daniel Clark brings a new scatter plot each week, along with a fresh perspective to answer last week’s questions.


More than 2.6 million points fill the screen, each dot measuring how carcasses meet the 10 brand quality specifications — providing insight for possible improvement. How could adjustments help a premium supply meet the growing demand?


Changes don’t happen overnight.


The brand’s integrity is tied to these specifications, so they don’t evolve without careful consideration.


“The first question we ask,” Clark says, “is how it will affect our partners up and down the supply chain.”


Beyond the grading stand


On September 9, 2020, CAB will implement two changes to its “G1 schedule” specifications.


The first, a subtle rewording, adjusts the fat thickness limit from “less than 1 inch” to read “1 inch or less.” It might sound the same, but that precise language allows USDA graders more accurate measurements. Camera grading calculates fat thickness to several decimal places and that provides consistency and clarity when dealing with fractions of an inch.


The second change allows packers with an “extended licensing agreement” to box beef from some primals that met all quality specifications, but exceed the ribeye area, up to 19-square inches.


Ribs, ribeyes, strip loins and short loins from these carcasses will be excluded from the brand.


“This is not an expansion of the ribeye area to 19-square inches, but rather capitalizing on other parts of the carcass that are practically unaffected by that limit,” says Clint Walenciak, CAB director of packing.


The move allows foodservice and retail partners to access CAB briskets, tenderloins, short ribs and end meats for roasts and ground beef from those carcasses that fall in the 16- to 19-square include ribeye. The exclusion of larger ribeyes, ribs, strip and short loins, maintains brand-quality plate presentations and thicker cuts for the key middle-meat items. Box quality, consistency and center-of-the-plate steak presentation standards remain the same.


“I don’t want to overstate the magnitude of the expanded specification, but it is one small step in one big direction,” Clark says. “This is exciting for the future of the brand and for our partners on all fronts.”


Their research shows the size differentiation of cuts...