WICHITA, Kan. – Look for Cargill to start offering certified tender beef products in 2014.

The beef-tenderness laboratory at the Wichita Cargill Innovation Center recently became the first US processor to receive US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Marketing Service certification for its beef-tenderness program, according to the company. Under the program, Cargill will identify brands and products that meet the USDA certified tender criteria. The company's processing plants in Dodge City, Kan.; Schuyler, Neb.; Fort Morgan, Colo.; and Friona, Texas, have been certified by USDA for the harvest, fabrication and packaging of tender products, according to the company.

“We believe Cargill is the beef-processing leader in the area of tenderness research and testing,” said John Keating, president of Wichita, Kan.-based Cargill Beef. “We invest a substantial amount of resources in this area and have the best team in the industry, led by Dr. Glen Dolezal, who is well respected throughout the beef world. We are committed to meet, or exceed, the expectations of our retail and foodservice customers by providing them with the best beef possible for consumers to enjoy.”

The company tests beef tenderness daily through thousands of tests each month at the Wichita Cargill Innovation Center. So far, 10 cuts of beef are eligible for “USDA tender” or USDA very tender” under the USDA certification program.