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March/April 2010

Marketing Claims

The ability to complement marketing claims in advertising and promotions with third-party certification or verification is important in any industry. A new ASTM subcommittee will be working on standards for such verification in the livestock and meat industry.

The new subcommittee, F10.60 on Livestock, Meat and Poultry Marketing Claims, is part of ASTM International Committee F10 on Livestock, Meat and Poultry Evaluation Systems.

“The livestock and meat supply chain and ensuing customers would benefit from common trade language of finished goods,” says Martin E. O’Connor, the chairman of F10.60. “In general, livestock and meat marketing claim standards facilitate communication by enhancing the understanding of particular claims among producers, processors and consumers.”

According to O’Connor, who is chief of the standards, analysis and technology branch of the livestock and seed program at the Agricultural Marketing Service — part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — meat processors, purveyors and retailers as well as consumers will all use F10.60 standards. O’Connor cites the following example:

“If you were at a grocery store and wanted to purchase steaks for your upcoming dinner party, which item would you choose to impress your guests? The package that states ‘beef ribeye steak’ or the package that states, ‘beef ribeye steak — certified very tender’? The latter employs a market claim that helps the consumer make an informed decision about what they are purchasing.”

“The more insight and research compiled initially will aid our efforts in ensuring that published marketing claim standards are effective when implemented in the marketplace,” says O’Connor.

The subcommittee is currently at work on a marketing claim standard for “tender” meat. “We have compiled much data and research on this subject and are working on the framework of the claim itself,” says O’Connor. “Additional insight from producers, processors, retailers, food service professionals and consumers is always valuable.”

O’Connor says the subcommittee is also interested in hearing suggestions for other marketing claim standards and would like to hear from trade organizations that may be able to offer market research on consumer needs.


Technical Information: Martin E. O’Connor, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Phone: 202-720-7046

ASTM Staff: Kathleen McClung

Phone: 610-832-9717