photo of a tomato



See also greenhouse tomatoes

U.S. Department of Agriculture grades

The United States has four grades: U.S. No. 1, U.S. Combined, U.S. No. 2, and U.S. No. 3.

All of the grades require tomatoes that:

Grades 1 and 2 tomatoes must be free from sunscald; grade 3 must not have been seriously damaged.

Grade 1 tomatoes may be “no more than moderately,” and grade 2 tomatoes “not decidedly” “kidney-shaped, lop-sided, elongated, angular, or otherwise deformed.” Grade 3 tomatoes may be mishapen, as long as it doesn't interfere with their edibility.

Grade 1 tomatoes must be fairly smooth, not conspicuously ridged or rough. Grade 2 may be slightly rough, but not “decidedly ridged or grooved.”

There is also a U.S. Combination grade. In such a lot, at least 60% of the tomatoes meet U.S. No. 1 grade requirements, and the rest are No. 2.

For red-fleshed tomatoes, a color classification may be added to the Grade designation. One of the following color designations must be used:

The color standards are illustrated in Tomato Color Standards U.S.D.A. Visual Aid TM-L-1 (available from John Henry Co. P.O. Box 1410, Lansing MI 48904 USA).

Bulk shipments of tomatoes must be marked with a size, visible on 85% of the containers. Consumer packages need not be marked, but if they are, the same size designations apply.

Size No Pass
see note 1
see note 2
Small 2⅛ inches 2 ⁹⁄₃₂ inches
Medium 2¼ inches 2 ¹⁷⁄₃₂ inches
Large 2½ inches 2 ²⁵⁄₃₂ inches
Extra Large 2¾ inches  

1. Will not pass through a round opening with this diameter when the tomato is held with its greatest diameter parallel to the plane of the opening.

2. Will pass through a round opening of this size; the tomato may be held in any position for the test.

The sizes of cherry tomatoes and pear-shaped tomatoes may simply be given in inches or centimeters.


The tolerances for Grade No. 1 are described, those for the other grades are similiar.

Ten percent of the tomatoes in any lot can be smaller than the minimum or larger than the maximum diameter for their size. Ten percent can be some other color than that indicated, except that if only 5% can be green if any color but green has been specified.

If packed in packages with a marked net weight of 15 lbs or more, up to 15% of the packages in any lot may be either underweight or more than 2 pounds overweight.

At shipping point, 10% may fail to meet standards. No more than 5% may have very serious damage.

At destination, 15% may fail to meet standards; no more than 5% soft or affected by decay; no more than 10% with shoulder bruises; no more than 5% very seriously damaged, not counting soft or decayed.

U.S. Standards: 7 C Federal Register 51.

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