Ultrasound grading

THE distasteful task of grading beef by inspecting carcasses can now be bypassed. Two researchers at Iowa State University in the US have come up with a far more accurate technique to rate meat. They use ultrasound readings of fat deposits on live animals to offer gourmets "select", "choice", or "prime" even before the animal is slaughtered (Science, Vol 263, No 5145).

The technique may also help to choose and cross-breed cattle varieties to produce those with superior meat quality, claim the scientists.