Beef grading cameras were installed incorrectly, resulting in inaccurate yield grades at four cattle plants.

February 15, 2024

1 Min Read

USDA said this week that it has reached a consent decision with Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation (Cargill) for violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) was initiated in March 2022 when Cargill self-reported that its beef grading cameras were installed incorrectly, resulting in inaccurate yield grades at its four fed cattle plants. The investigation revealed that Cargill applied inaccurate yield grades to 324,824 carcasses that it purchased on a carcass grade and weight basis from August 2021 to March 2022, resulting in an underpayment of $12,514,804 to cattle sellers. Cargill compensated all sellers for any underpayment in May 2022 using corrected yield grades.

Under the consent decision, Cargill must cease and desist from failing to meet applicable camera grading installation standards as established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at its cattle processing plants and from compensating sellers based on inaccurate grading. In addition, Cargill was assessed a civil penalty of $155,000.

The P&S Act is a fair-trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat, and poultry industries.

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