Latest Beef Quality Audit Shows Improvements

May 24, 2023

The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) delivers a set of guidelines and measurements for producers and other stakeholders to help determine the quality conformance of the beef supply. Results from the 2022 audit indicate the industry is producing a high-quality product consumers want and the focus of the supply chain remains food safety. 

Early audits focused on attributes like marbling, external fat and carcass blemishes. This list has evolved to include food safety, sustainability, animal well-being and the growing disconnect between producers and consumers. As a result, NBQA has made changes to the research, leading to an increasingly meaningful set of results. 

Based on interviews with industry stakeholders, as well as in-plant research, some of the key findings from the 2022 audit include:
• Market segments no longer consider food safety a purchasing criterion, but an expectation.
• When comparing 2016 and 2022 audits, the largest improvement was increased efficiency across the beef supply chain.
• An increase in usage of electronic identification.
• An increase in the frequency of Prime and Choice quality grades, while Select decreased drastically.

• While the industry is improving beef quality, that quality is accompanied by an increase in carcass weight and fat thickness, as well as higher percentages of Yield Grade 4 and 5 carcasses. 

The beef quality audit is conducted every five years, helping the industry make necessary modifications to increase the value of its products. For more information, visit