What does it mean to be USDA inspected?

June 7th, 2016


Mandatory Federal Inspection

The goal of the mandatory federal inspection is to confirm that meat and poultry products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. This inspection is carried out by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) a public health agency under the USDA. Due to the mandatory nature of this inspection it is done at no cost to the retailer.

FSIS inspects all raw meat and poultry sold in interstate and foreign commerce, including those imported products. The largest threat to meat and poultry at this time is the risk of bacteria which is combated with safe handling instructions and proper processing techniques. Not only is the meat itself inspected but the plant where it is processed is inspected with equal thoroughness.  Broadbent’s went under Federal Inspection in 1966.  An Inspector is on duty at Broadbent’s every day of operation.

You may recognize this label which is placed on all meat products, with the goal of informing on proper food safety to the general consumer.

safe handling

Several Broadbent products will not include the Refrigerator Icon on their label because they are shelf stable, meaning they will not require refrigeration.  The dry curing process in Broadbent Country Ham and Bacon dry out the meat.  Once the water activity is lowered in the meat, bacteria cannot live, allowing the Refrigerator Icon to be removed.


USDA Grading

Steak is the most recognizable item spoken about in regards to USDA grades. Grading takes place after the mandatory federal inspection is voluntary and paid for by the retailer. The grading is carried out by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Grading is an evaluation of the traits including tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of meat. The standards of grading are consistent across the nation and are stamped on the carcass. Retailers usually reflect the grade on the cuts of meat by placing a sticker on the package itself.



Pork is generally produced from young animals that are bred and fed for uniformly tender meat and is not graded with USDA quality grades. When purchasing pork, appearance is the most important factor. For the best flavor find cuts with a relatively small amount of fat over the outside, a bit of marbling and are firm with grayish pink coloring.

Pork’s consistency deems it suitable for a large variety of cooking styles. Chops are commonly prepared by broiling, grilling, baking, braiding or sautéing. Ribs can be braised, roasted, or grilled. Slow cooking creates the most tender and flavorful results. The most tender and tasty cut of pork is said to be the tenderloin.

pork parts

At Broadbent we of course meet and exceed the Federal Mandatory Inspection requirements. We also take pride in knowing the high quality of our end product. Though we don’t have a snazzy sticker on our package with a USDA grade, we have blue ribbons adorning our company walls reminding us that our products are a cut above the rest. Not only do we choose high quality cuts of meat but we take the time to slow cure or cook our products to amazing taste and tenderness.

We spend so much time making a product filled with tradition, love and pride so that your family can enjoy the tradition taste of Kentucky as much as we do.


Learn more about the inspection process and other meat grades at www.fsis.usda.gov

Written by Laura Oberle

There’s Kentucky country ham, and then there’s Kentucky country ham from Broadbent’s. The makers of award-winning Kentucky country ham, hickory smoked bacon, and smoked sausage. The tradition of making products of the highest quality has been the same for over 100-years. Whether your tastes in Ham flavor is salty or sweet, we’ve got the perfect Ham for your Christmas celebration! Please Browse through our selections, all guaranteed to please!

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