Mexican beef grading standards address US concerns

IARN — Mexico has published the final version of its grading standards for domestically produced beef.

US Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom says when the standards were first proposed in 2017, USMEF raised concerns in comments submitted to Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food.

“After multiple delays, they finally were published in the official gazette down in Mexico,” Halstrom said. “While we don’t have any problem with a country doing their own grading standards, our concerns that USMEF and the US industry have is we were worried it could very well create confusion in that the English and Spanish names were pretty closely aligned. We wanted to make sure the Mexico consumers – who are very familiar with US beef and our grading standards here – were able to maintain our quality differentiation with the use of our grading standards in the US.”

US grade names are no longer included, and Mexico’s grades are not presented as equivalent to US or other grades. Halstrom says this is a notable improvement over the original proposal and a win for the U.S. industry, which has worked for many years to differentiate U.S. beef in this key export market.

“You have a very diverse set of consumers in Mexico,” Halstrom said. “From the very high end in retail and foodservice, and then you have the very low-end wet market consumers as well that maybe don’t differentiate as much. Our targeted market is that high end demographic and the high-end retail and foodservice. We have worked many years, decades in fact, to try and differentiate US beef. We want to make sure that any changes here don’t put us at a disadvantage.”

Mexico’s standards are set to enter into force 180 days after publication but might require more time due to the process of approving a certification organization and subsequent training and testing of prospective carcass graders.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Image source: U.S. Meat Export Federation



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