Grading Beef -- is it uniquely a United States system?
- ipsedixit Dec 16, 2011 08:05 PM
The grades used to differentiate beef used by the USDA -- Prime, Choice, Select, etc. -- is it a purely U.S. thing?
Do other countries grade their beef on a (similar?) sliding scale based on intramuscular fat and age of the cattle?
If they don't, then are there no systems in place to differentiate one cut of beef from another -- other than perhaps by sight?
The Japanese take grading beef to an insane level. Not speaking as an expert, but IME, Europeans don't do this. Each region traditionally raises a certain breed of cattle (on grass). They are not finished on grain, so the marbling is low. Which is not to say that the beef is bad -- I love it. I suspect that all of this is changing, as the American model of factory farming spreads its nasty tentacles.
We certainly don't grade meat like that in the UK and I don't recall seeing anything similar in the other European countries I visit regularly.