Beef, Lamb and Sheep carcasses are graded at the abattoir and the grade is roller stamped onto the carcass with food grade ink. It is in your best interests to know what these grades mean.

The age of the animal is determined by counting the animals mature teeth.



AAA – Milk Teeth – Purple mark – Most tender
ABA – 2 teeth – Green mark – This means that the animal is in transition from a young to adult animal.
BBB – 4-6 teeth – Brown mark –  This means that the meat is less tender but full of flavour.
CCC – 8 teeth – Red mark –  This means that the meat is from an adult animal and is the least tender but is perfect for stews.

There is another section for classification as well. This relates to the amount of fat on the animal.


.000 – No visible fat on carcass
.111 – Very lean carcass
.222 – A lean carcass
.333 – A medium fat carcass
.444 – A fat carcass
.555 – An over fat carcass
.666 – An excessively fat carcass

The best fat content is .222 and .333. Very little or no fat carcasses lack flavour.