Find locally raised meat, milk and eggs near you!

Choosing Poultry: Grades and How to Select to Choocse Chicken, Turkey and Duck

If the USDA grades poultry, including chicken, turkey and duck as Grade A, Grade B and Grade C. The U.S. grade shield for poultry is found on the following chilled or frozen ready-to-cook poultry products:

  • whole carcasses and parts,
  •  roasts,
  • tenderloins, and
  • other boneless and/or skinless poultry products that are being marketed.

There are no grade standards for necks, wing tips, tails, giblets, or ground poultry.

Grade A

Grade A is the highest quality and the only grade that is likely to be seen at the retail level.
This grade indicates that the poultry products:
  • are virtually free from defects such as bruises, discolorations, and feathers.
  • Bone-in products have no broken bones
  • .

For whole birds and parts with the skin on:
  • there are no tears in the skin or exposed flesh that could dry out during cooking, and
  • a good covering of fat under the skin.
  •  whole birds and parts will be fully fleshed and meaty.

Grade B and Grade C

Grades B and C poultry are usually used in further-processed products where the poultry meat is cut up, chopped, or ground. If sold at retail, they are usually not grade identified.

So which grade should I buy and what do I look for?

Stick to Grade A only.

More information