Product Quality

The Product Quality Research program includes the study of beef quality, muscle traits and characterization, carcass traits, muscle tenderness and yield, flavor and palatability, and new technologies.  This has been achieved through evaluation of the impact of pre- and post-harvest factors on beef product quality.  The overall goal of this checkoff-funded research is to improve beef quality, consistency, value and demand.

Quick Access

USDA Grading Module & Simulation

Learn about the procedures and technologies involved in USDA's quality and yield grading, including the program's history and specific processes and calculations involved to determine final quality and yield grades.

Bovine Myology & Muscle Profiling Website
This updated checkoff-funded website provides a user-friendly way to access the science describing the physical and chemical characteristics of beef muscles. Information on the site can aid the processor in the development and preparation of new products based on the inherent properties of each muscle. The name, origin, insertion, action, innervation, and blood supply of each muscle is also available to assist in understanding muscular and skeletal anatomy, making the website a helpful educational tool.


Beef Cuts, Primal & Subprimal Weights and Yields is a 12-page booklet providing the weights and yields of primals and sub-primals from a 1,300-pound steer based on the Cutout Calculator. 


Download the PDF   
Request free copies 
Access the Beef Cuts PowerPoint 

Related Links

Beef Cutout Calculator

The Beef Cutout Calculator is intended to assist cattlemen by providing an estimate of live value and maximum and minimum carcass values by subprimal for various carcass types.

Interactive Beef Cutout Calculator 
Bovine Myology & Muscle Profiling Website

Browse the Product Quality Research Library

Use the filter tool to find a variety of checkoff-funded resources on topics related to product quality, e.g. tenderness, grading, aging, etc.

Beef Quality Animation Videos

View animations of the processes of muscle contraction and relaxation, rigor mortis, proteolysis, and myoglobin oxidation. These natural processes are essential in the development of beef quality, tenderness, color and shelf-life. A fifth video describes beef storage life.

Featured Resources

2015/2016 National Beef Tenderness Executive Summary

The National Beef Tenderness Survey (NBTS) has been conducted every five years for the last 25 years to verify and document improvements in beef tenderness and direct ongoing tenderness research. The 2015/2016 NBTS Executive Summary provides an overview of the industry’s steady progress in assuring the best possible beef product.

Elucidation of Beef Flavor Character from Flavor Precursor Compounds

Flavor, an important component of beef palatability, can be defined as the combination of taste and aroma. The development of favorable beef flavor is a result of cooking. This white paper examines the role of the precursor compounds of beef flavor (fatty acids, amino acids, reducing sugars, nucleotides, etc.) in determining the character of beef flavor and how the composition of flavor precursor compounds is affected by quality grade and beef cattle production system.

Your Beef Breakdown, Explained

Why does a carcass from a 1,300-pound steer only yield about 639 pounds of edible beef? This two-page handout explains the process of fabrication and lists the average volume of the various cuts available from each of the primals.

Getting a read on great beef flavor 

Over recent decades, the beef industry has made significant progress in improving beef’s tenderness, an important determinant of consumer satisfaction. Through the Beef Checkoff, the industry is now changing its focus to the attributes of flavor, to better understand what components of beef contribute to a great-tasting eating experience. Go to “Getting a Read on Great Beef Flavor” to learn about the status of the checkoff’s flavor research.

Beef Flavor: A review from chemistry to consumer 

For more than 140 years, Americans have sought to document and improve the flavor of beef through discoveries and research.  This white paper provides a review of the literature describing the more recent efforts