More than 300 meat cuts to be renamed

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 355 views 

In the next few months consumers may need a meat dictionary when they are shopping for pork butt, top sirloin steak or some 350 other cuts of red meat.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently cleared the way for a major overhaul of a 40-year-old protocol for naming beef and pork, lamb and veal cuts. The Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, or URMIS is managed by The Beef Checkoff and the National Pork Board for the red meat industry.

After almost two years of consumer research conducted by these industry groups, the federal government says the new labels could start showing up in meat cases by the summer grilling season.

The new system attempts to standardize common names and simplify the wording on the labels in hopes of attracting more consumers – a marketing move according industry insiders who say shoppers have passed over red meat for too long, favoring the more economical cuts of chicken turkey.

The “pork butt” got a more stately name of “boston roast” and “top sirloin” is now “coulette." Around 350 cuts will be renamed, according to the industry officials.

“We are pleased to have industry support to introduce new, simplified fresh meat names that will help consumers better understand the beef and pork cuts they see every day in the meat case,” said Jim Henger, senior executive director of marketing for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Henger expects the new labels will help drive meat sales.

Economists say price has more to do with sales than the name of meat cuts, but industry trade groups are optimistic the new labels will be welcomed by more consumers.

Patrick Fleming, director of marketing for the National Pork Board, says consumers have been confused in the past because some of the labels had names which didn’t relate to the where the cut was taken from the animal.

For instance the pork butt, never came from the rump section, it is taken from the front shoulder, said Ray Wien, a butcher at Allen’s Foods in Bella Vista.

Wien says the new labels are coming and aimed at being more standardized. He said names like the “Kansas City strip: or “New York cut” will be known simply as “top loin."

Fleming said this cross-industry effort to develop new common names was completely consumer-driven, and is something that is commonly recognized as “critical to keeping meat on the center of the plate.”

One staple meat product that won’t get a name change is “ground beef." Veal and lamb name changes will come later this year, and for now chicken parts will retain the same names.