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Meat Conference 2013: Meat Names Simplified

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The Beef and Pork Checkoff programs released a list of new, proposed common URMIS (Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards) names for consumer facing labels during two presentations at the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville on Monday.

Consumer research showed the current lengthy labels weren't relevant to today's shopper, the groups said.

“We’ve got a very confused consumer,” said Michael Uetz, principal at Midan Marketing.

The protein groups teamed up to simplify labels, get rid of unappealing names, and to reformat the layout. Now, common names are larger on the first line and characteristics appear on a second line.

For instance, instead of "Beef Chuck Eye Country Style Ribs Boneless" the new name would be "Country-Style Ribs" with "Beef, Chuck Eye and Boneless" on the second line. 

A third line will have a suggestion for how to best prepare the cut. Pork will also adapt names that have been used with beef, such as "sirloin" and "ribeye."

Uetz and the National Pork Board's Patrick Fleming told me that the proposed naming system has been well-received by the industry members at the conference. Fleming said conference attendees asked why this wasn't done 10 years ago.

It's a drastic change, but "it's time for something drastic," Uetz told me.

The industry can view the list of common names and weigh in on the proposed naming system by March 18 on www.meattrack.com. There will be a conference call on March 27 with the Industry-Wide Cooperative Meat Identification Standards Committee (ICMISC) to address those concerns.

The USDA has been supportive of the proposed name changes and they have already been approved by the agency.* The labels will only need a new review if the proposed names have significant changes due to industry feedback, according to Caroline Ahn, Midan Marketing's public relations and social media manager.

 

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the voluntary labeling guidelines still need to be approved by the USDA.

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