The Silver Fern Farms Eating Quality (EQ) System® is a science-backed grading process, which allows us to guarantee you a better beef eating experience.
Our Eating Quality System® rates beef on six scientific criteria proven to contribute to the eating quality of red meat. It stands behind our Master Graders’ promise of beef that consistently meets the highest standards of taste, tenderness and juiciness.
Cuts are hand-selected by an Accredited Master Grader and are then aged with care for at least 21 days.
A lot of hard work goes into grading our red meat and we take a lot of care to do it correctly. We use a uniform set of standards to make sure you get the best red meat every time. Our Silver Fern Farms’ accredited EQ Master Graders are essential to how we hand-select the best red meat. Our Master Graders assess individual carcases to collect attributes that are used in the grading process.
In addition to standard measures, such as carcass weight, a set of specific EQ attributes are considered. The key attributes are:
pH testing measures lactic acid levels and is recorded in conjunction with temperature. Ultimate pH is measured in the ribeye muscle using a pH meter. High pH can be detrimental to meat colour, texture, shelf life and eating quality. Energy (or glycogen) levels in the animal are key to obtaining a pH within the acceptable range. Minimising stress and ensuring animals have enough energy reserves through adequate finishing will assist in achieving an ideal pH-level.
Marbling is assessed by the amount and distribution of intramuscular fat within the rib-eye muscle. Marbling has a positive effect on eating quality and its influence is greatest across the high-value loin cuts. It is the last fat to be deposited and the first to be utilised by the animal as an energy source. To maximise marbling, cattle must be on a high-quality diet. Marbling can be improved through genetic selection and farmers should be aware of this characteristic when selecting a sire for their cattle.