The inspection and grading of meat and poultry are two separate programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Inspection for wholesomeness is mandatory and is paid for with public funds. Grading for quality is voluntary, and the service is requested and paid for by meat and poultry producers/processors.
Mandatory Federal Inspection
American consumers can be confident that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the public health agency in the USDA, ensures that meat and poultry products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act , FSIS inspects all raw meat and poultry sold in interstate and foreign commerce, including imported products. The Agency monitors meat and poultry products after they leave federally inspected plants…