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Pork, Beef Boards Announce New Names for Meat Products

What’s in a name? Plenty when it comes to pork chops, and it’s all about to change.

On labels, different cuts of pork chops are named from bone-in to boneless loin chops, to center cut to thick and thin to loin and rib chops.

Confusing, isn’t it?

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 what part of the animal it comes from.

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

Consumers will start seeing the changes on store shelves in the next couple of months, just 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 says at www.pork.com. “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. And the pork industry is renaming many pork cuts with beefy names.

A pork loin chop will now be labeled as pork porterhouse chop and pork rib chop center will become pork ribeye chop. Out is the top loin chop and in 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 still be ground beef.

The two industries are updating, along with the seal of approval from the USDA, 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,” says Frank Saverino, director of meat and seafood for Holiday Market, 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 what part of the animal that particular cut comes from, along with cooking instructions.

In the last few years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered the safe cooking temperature to 145 degrees for whole cuts of meat. Pork cooked to 145 degrees might still have a pinkish hue, but it’s safe to eat, according to the USDA.