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Beef General Information

Why is it so difficult to buy a good steak in a supermarket?

By Bob Oros

dot-supermarket-steak.jpg (164289
 bytes)In the mid 1970's the cattle associations convinced the USDA to lower the beef grading standards. Beef that was graded as USDA prime did not exist any more. What was then a high grade of USDA CHOICE became USDA PRIME and what was USDA GOOD became USDA CHOICE.

After the change in the grading system the per capita consumption of beef began a steady decline. The consumers demand for "lean" and "no cholesterol" forced   supermarkets to remove the fat, the main ingredient that makes a good steak and gives it flavor.

A properly aged piece of lean meat may be tender, however, a properly aged piece of highly "marbled" USDA CHOICE or USDA PRIME is now available only in the better restaurants where you cannot "see" the fat and marbling.