USDA on Friday launched its new guidelines for tenderness marketing claims following a Jan. 17 draft standards document that requested industry review and comment.
The document has now been revised to include operational requirements that will provide flexibility to entities interested in having a USDA-certified tenderness program, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service reported.
Both the AMS and the ASTM worked in concert to develop the standards to be used for marketing purposes. A subcommittee was developed to oversee the matter.
According to the new regulations, meat can be certified "USDA Tender" or "USDA Very Tender" and may use the shields denoting those categories if all requirements are met.
Meat will be tested using a Warner Brantzler shear force measurement. This measurement determines the amount of force required to shear a one-half inch core of a meat sample, according to a topic paper from Texas A&M Meat Science Station.
An individual or firm that seeks USDA certification of a tenderness marketing claim must provide documentation that describes how they will meet requirements of an ASTM International tenderness standard; describe the process with a documented quality management system; and demonstrate conformance with "performance elements."
Those performance elements include testing of tenderness measuring equipment, providing a sampling plan and traceability plan.