Meat Naming System

Things may sound a little different at the butcher this summer.

In a recent article, it was announced that after 40 years, the names for popular cuts of meat are being revamped. Say goodbye to top loin pork chops and beef loin top sirloin cubes for kabobs. Hopefully, the new names will make it easier for consumers to understand what they’re buying and provide different options of how to cook it.

Pork and beef are the two main culprits for the name changes. They’ll now identify the species, whether it’s from the chuck, rib, loin or round, the retail cut name and provide helpful cooking information.

Names for meat cuts were first created in the 1970s, and they focused on the anatomical aspects of the animal, named based on their location. That information is still included in the new name, but it follows the new cut name.

Pork chops are getting the most significant makeover, with names that will be similar to beef cuts. Here’s a quick list:

Old: Pork loin chop
New: Pork porterhouse chop

Old: Top loin pork chop
New: Pork New York chop

Old: Bone-in pork loin chop
New: T-Bone chop

Old: Pork rib chop
New: Pork ribeye chop

Old: Pork rib chop, center
New: Pork ribeye chop, bone-in

In the latter example, consumers know that ribeye steak means a high-quality cut of beef, and it will mean the same for pork. They also help consumers identify a specific cut with a cooking method. If a buyer sees the word “porterhouse,” they would know that they can grill that cut of meat, or pan-fry it.

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A few beef names are getting revamped as well – instead of names changing entirely, they’re cutting the fat to result in simpler names.

Old: Beef loin top sirloin steak, boneless, cap off
New: Top sirloin steak

Old: Beef loin top sirloin cubes for kabobs
New: Kabobs

Old: Beef chuck eye edge pot roast, boneless
New: Denver roast

Old: Beef shoulder top blade steak, boneless, flat iron
New: Flat iron steak

The system was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Industry-Wide Cooperative Meat Identification Standards Committee. Supermarkets will be rolling out the new names this summer, at the height of grilling season.

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