Sink your teeth into new meat naming system

Detroit Free PressApril 24, 2013 

FOOD What’s in a name?

Plenty when it comes to pork chops, and it’s all about to change.

The National Pork Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recently announced new names for more than 350 cuts of beef and pork.

The move, which follows a collaborative two-year study on the issue, aims to reduce consumer confusion with labels that easily identify the cut of meat and the part of the animal from which it came.

Take pork butt, for example. The cut, which actually is from the shoulder, will be renamed Boston roast.

Consumers will see the changes on store shelves in the next couple months — in time for the summer grilling season.

“The new names will help change the way consumers and retailers talk about pork,” National Pork Board president Conley Nelson said at pork.org. “But more important, the simpler names will help clear up confusion that consumers currently experience at the meat case, helping to move more pork in the long term.”

The names are said to be more universal and easier for consumers to choose. Also, the pork industry is renaming many pork cuts with beefy names.

A pork loin chop will be labeled as pork porterhouse chop, and pork rib chop center will become pork ribeye chop. The top loin chop will be called a New York chop.

In the beef case, consumers will see flat iron steak — a fabricated cut from the shoulder — instead of top blade steak. And coulette replaces top sirloin beef, but ground beef will remain ground beef.

The two industries are updating, along with the seal of approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 40-year-old Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, which most retailers use.

“Sometimes they say change is good — we’ll have to wait and see,” said Frank Saverino, director of meat and seafood for Holiday Market in Royal Oak, Mich. “Not only does the public have to get used to these new names, but in the industry, it will be challenging.”

Pork and beef also will have new packaging that states the part of the animal from which a cut originated, along with cooking instructions.

In the last few years, the USDA lowered the safe cooking temperature to 145 degrees for whole cuts of meat.

Pork cooked to 145 degrees still might have a pinkish hue, but it’s safe to eat, according to the USDA.

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