WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture announced that it reached a consent decision with Cargill Meat Solution Corp., on Feb. 5, for violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

An investigation by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) began in March 2022 when Cargill self-reported that its beef grading cameras were installed incorrectly. This resulted in inaccurate yield grades at its four fed cattle plants.

AMS stated that Cargill applied inaccurate yield grades to 324,824 carcasses that it purchased on a carcass grade and weight basis from August 2021 to March 2022, which resulted in an underpayment of $12,514,804 to cattle sellers.

Cargill ended up compensating all sellers for any underpayment in May 2022 using corrected yield grades.

Under this consent decision, AMS said that Cargill must cease and desist from failing to meet applicable camera grading installation standards as established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at its cattle processing plants and from compensating sellers based on inaccurate grading. 

Additionally, Cargill was assessed a civil penalty of $155,000.