Audio: U.S. Concerns Addressed in Mexico’s Beef Grading Standards

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After several delays, Mexico has published grading standards for domestically produced beef.

When the standards were first proposed in 2017, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) raised concerns in comments submitted to Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA). USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom explains that USMEF and others in the U.S. beef industry specifically objected to how English grade names could be used interchangeably with Spanish names, which could create confusion in the marketplace and diminish the value derived from the USDA grading system.

Halstrom notes that SAGARPA addressed these concerns in the final version of its standards, as U.S. grade names are no longer included and Mexico’s grades are not presented as equivalent to U.S. or other grades. He said 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.

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.

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.