Ground Beef Labels

The label on ground beef tells the fat content

Man holding package of ground beef
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Ground Beef Labels

Keep in mind that these guidelines are according to United States standards. Variations will occur in other countries.

Ground Hamburger

Ground from less tender and/or less popular cuts of beef. Generally, the butcher reserves trimmings from other meat cuts (excluding innards) to grind into hamburger and ground beef. This means, in theory, there could be pieces of sirloin, chuck, ribs, or even filet mignon in that package of hamburger.

According to USDA standards, hamburger may have fat added but cannot contain more than 30% fat by weight.

Ground Beef

Basically the same as a ground hamburger but it cannot have added fat. It cannot contain more than 30% fat by weight.

Specialty Ground Beef

If the label says it's ground sirloin or ground chuck, then those are the only parts included in the grind. These grinds are typically more expensive and leaner than the all-inclusive ground beef or hamburger. However, buyer beware. Ground sirloin or ground round can conceivably be no leaner than inexpensive ground beef, yet still be properly labeled as long as it doesn't claim to be lean. Don't depend on the cut to define leanness. The following percentages are used as a guideline for specific cuts:

  • Ground chuck : 80 to 85 percent lean / 15 to 20 percent fat
  • Ground round : 85 to 90 percent lean / 10 to 15 percent fat
  • Ground sirloin : 90 to 92 percent lean / 8 to 10 percent fat

    Lean Ground Beef

    Must meet the requirements of ground beef but may not contain more than 22 percent fat.


    Extra- Lean Ground Beef

    Must meet the requirements of ground beef but may not contain more than 15 percent fat.


    More About Ground Beef and Hamburger Recipes:

    Ground Beef Cooking Tips
    • Ground Beef Labels and Fat Content
    Ground Beef Selection and Storage
    What is in ground beef? FAQ
    How to Grind Your Own Ground Beef
    Ground Beef Coloration and Safe Handling
    Ground Beef History
    Ground Beef Recipes - Hamburger Recipes


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