USDA Grade A
The USDA grades for poultry are A, B, and C. The official grade shield certifies that the poultry has been graded for quality by a technically trained government grader.
The inspection and grading of poultry are two separate programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Inspection for wholesomeness is mandatory and is paid for out of tax dollars. Grading for quality is voluntary, and the service is requested and paid for by the meat and poultry producers themselves.
American consumers can be confident that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the public health agency in the USDA, ensures that meat and poultry products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
After the meat and poultry are inspected for wholesomeness, producers may request to have the products graded for quality by a licensed Federal grader. Grading for quality means the evaluation of traits related to tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of meat; and, for poultry, a normal shape that is fully fleshed and meaty and free of defects.
USDA grades are based on nationally uniform Federal standards of quality. Retail packages of meat and poultry display the U.S. grade mark, like the one above, if they have been officially graded. USDA grades for poultry are A, B, and C. Grade A is the highest quality grade.
(Source: www.fsis.usda.gov factsheet)