Responding to beef industry changes and consumer demand, the Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) board of directors on Sept. 7 voted to adjust Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand specifications.
In place of a longstanding Yield Grade (YG) 3.9 limit, the brand will use a more specific consistency requirement in the future. Finished cattle weights have increased steadily and beef fabrication styles have evolved in the 28 years since CAB was founded. The changes will address uniformity issues that technology has been unable to control.
The board voted to adopt a ribeye size bracket of 10 to 16 square inches and a carcass weight cap at less than 1,000 pounds (<1,000 lb.). It also instructed the CAB staff to investigate limits on external fat thickness to refine compositional consistency.
CAB staff will discuss the plans with its licensed packers, review existing research and conduct cutting tests before reporting to the Board with a final fat thickness recommendation.
Since 1978, the average weight of a
“Yield grade is a cutability indicator for the packer, but it does not give us the product size and weight consistency our licensed retailers and restaurant operators need,” said Riemann, who worked several years in the packing industry and as a meat scientist before coming to CAB.
The brand’s 2005 consist study of 26,700 carcasses at plants in four states found calculated YG 3 carcasses with a ribeye range of 6.9 to 19.0 square inches, and carcass weights of up to 1,169 lb.
“It makes sense to limit ribeye range and to control cut weights, as it does to investigate an appropriate fat thickness,” Riemann said. “The idea is to achieve better control over consistency than yield grade currently offers.”
The 2005 National Beef Quality Audit found the top concern of foodservice and retail customers (insufficient marbling) already met by the CAB brand. “This change would take aim at the next two on that list: cut weights too heavy and lack of uniformity,” said John Stika, CAB vice president for business development. As carcass weights increased over the years, the static YG formula required ever-larger ribeyes.