Commentary: Meat cuts get confusing new monikers

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Editor's note: The following commentary was written by Amanda Hill for the Texas Farm Bureau.

Meat I came across a news story this morning from NBC’s "Today Show" that reported a group within the meat industry is moving toward renaming some of our favorite meat cuts in order to make them “more consumer-friendly.”

The group heading up the new meat monikers is the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards—URMIS, for short. They claim that consumers are confused by names of meats like rump roast, pork butt and others. So, to clarify the consumer’s choice of pork and beef, URMIS has suggested new names for more than 350 cuts in your local meat case.

What are some of the new meat monikers you might look for? If you’re planning on serving up a juicy pork chop for dinner, look instead for “Porterhouse chops,” “Ribeye chops” and “New York chops.”

Need a pork butt for your dad’s famous slow-cooked, pulled pork sandwiches? Keep an eye out for a “Boston roast” instead.

If pot roast is on the menu at your house, you’ll need to find a Denver roast—even if the cow came from right here in the Lone Star State.

I don’t know about you, but these names confuse me more than the meat cuts I’m used to buying at the grocery store. When I pull out my favorite family recipe, I’m going to look for what Mom or Grandma wrote on the recipe card—not what URMIS renamed the cut of meat.

The news story did note that the new meat monikers are voluntary and at the discretion of the grocery stores. And, like everything in our free market society, the consumer will have the final say.

I just hope I’m not the only wondering which city my meat will be named for next week.

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Kansas  |  April, 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM

I was beginning to think I was the only one who thought this was silly. Though I do think that many consumers who buy pork butts think they're buying ham, but calling pork by beef names is rather insulting! Most meat consumers today have no idea where a porterhouse comes from or a rib-eye, they just know what tastes good, and that's what they buy. I hope the Pork Council gets out in front of this to prevent confusion among consumers (little stickers on the packages, maybe?)

Texas  |  April, 10, 2013 at 05:24 PM

Per the online documentation, , the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Pork Board are responsible for the changes... the document states: "The Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards (URMIS) is an industry-wide program managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Board that encourages retailers to adopt a uniform retail cut “language” for their customers. Prior to URMIS a specific cut might have had several different names, depending on the store or region of the country. But in adopting URMIS, retailers across the U.S. could label every retail cut uniformly, thereby reducing consumer confusion at the meat case." For more information, see Let's see... in the past we've had "New York Strip" steak and "Kansas City Strip" steak - different names for the SAME beef cut - the Top Loin (Strip) steak.

Texas  |  April, 10, 2013 at 05:32 PM

For more information re: new URMIS pork cut names see:

Vt  |  May, 31, 2013 at 05:31 PM

This is unfortunate. I see this causing more confusion for consumers plus all the tens of thousands of cook books out there will now have different names in the recipes than what is on the meat labels. Standardizing the names across regions also devalues local traditional names for things. This is unnecessary marketing glitz.


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