Reading through government forms can often feel like a flashback to kindergarten. All those numbers and letters—1040EZ, W9, W2…it’s like their own Mc Language.

Well, the coded form names are not just for taxes! Even beef gets in on the fun. Have you ever heard of a Schedule G?

USDA Schedule G Certified Beef Programs are officially titled, “USDA Specification for Certification of Beef Carcass Quality and Yield Characteristics of Officially Graded Beef.”

That’s a mouthful! No wonder they resort to simple letters of the alphabet.

What exactly is the purpose of a USDA certified program?

According to the USDA, Live Animal and Carcasses Specifications allow breed associations, distributors, and other industry organizations to use Live Animal and Carcass Specifications to group carcasses into specific and uniform breed and quality ranges. Certification may include quality attributes of the carcass such as maturity and marbling. Live animals may be certified for hair coat color and other characteristics.

In layman’s terms now, that means that a branded beef program can file their particular live animal and carcass requirements with the USDA, who then serves as somewhat of a “big-brother” to make sure they are consistently producing (and selling) what they say they are. Private-label or branded programs proclaim superiority over your basic commodity graded beef (i.e. Prime, Choice, Select), and a Schedule G simply puts those specs in black and white on a government form.

While not all branded beef programs have to be USDA-certified, those that choose to be are given a Schedule G number, such as G1, which is held by the well-known brand Certified Angus Beef®.

Certified Angus Beef® was the first USDA-certified beef program, filed back in 1978. Today, there are 95 certified programs according to the USDA website.

So…what’s the big deal?

The rise in consumer (and chef) demand for high-quality beef continues to drive the growth of branded programs. Whether you’re looking for a particular breed, natural, organic, grass-fed, or even a specific ranch, a certified program allows you to narrow down attributes of the many beef choices available today.

Gourmet Ranch offers a variety of certified beef program brands to choose from. Knowing that a program is USDA-certified helps us (and you) know that we can count on that brand to consistently deliver on the quality standards they hang their hat on. And you can use that brand to differentiate your menu from your competitors.

Want to learn more? Click here to browse the complete listing of USDA G Schedules. (Bonus: it’s a sure fix for any insomnia issues you might be having!)

Source: USDA , Agriculture Marketing Service