Canadian Packers Upgrade Beef Grading System

Canadian Packers Upgrade Beef Grading System

Several U.S. meatpackers have already installed new technology.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association reports the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has approved the use of a German-made digital imaging system for grading beef carcasses. This represents the first major advancement in the Canadian grading system since the advent of the computer vision system in 1999. The newer technology is already in use by more than 20 meatpackers in the United States.

The machine is stationary and photographs and analyzes the rib eye of each carcass as they pass by on a moving rail. According to Mark Klassen, director of technical services for CCA, the CCA has long been an advocate of computer vision grading because of the potential for the machine to make numerous measurements in the very short period of time currently available to grade each carcass.

Canada's XL Beef, Cargill High River and Cargill Guelph have installed the technology. However, the CFIA must approve installation of the system and the Canadian Beef Grading Agency must establish protocol before the packers can use the system.

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