Three companies have earned the beef checkoff's Mark of Quality for new beef products.

The products were approved by the Joint Brand-Like Commission Nov. 15 and recently received approval from the Executive Committee of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The number of products now in the Mark of Quality program is 63.

To earn the Mark of Quality, beef products must deliver the great beef taste that consumers would expect. In addition, they must have accurate on-pack preparation and safe food handling instructions, nutritional information and manufacturer contact information; correct product names and UPC coding; and manufacturers must offer a consumer satisfaction guarantee. Use of the Mark is overseen by the Cattlemen's Beef Board and managed under contract to the board by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).

The three brands and their products are:

--Maverick Ranch: Beef Pot Roast; Beef Chuck Filet in Burgundy Mushroom Sauce; Flatiron Beef Steak in Sherry and White Wine Sauce; and Southwest Style Meatloaf.

--Schwan's: Pot Roast.

--Tyson: Flat Iron Griller Top Blade Steaks; Medallion Roast Shoulder Tender Steaks; and Mesquite Flavored Shoulder Center Steaks.

These products went through an exhaustive testing and evaluation process, at the NCBA Culinary Center, in Chicago. They also were individually evaluated by a consumer panel and by the beef producers, who make up the Joint Brand-Like Commission.

The primary meat portion of all products selected for the Mark of Quality must be 100% beef. They also must have the great taste that consumers have come to expect from beef, and be branded by a manufacturer and supported in the marketplace by a consumer marketing program. Products must be centrally processed at a U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected facility.

Products are submitted by their respective companies for Mark of Quality approval, and the Joint Brand-Like Commission meets on a quarterly basis to evaluate items that have passed initial Culinary Center scrutiny. All must receive final approval from the Beef Board Executive Committee and the USDA.

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