Ottawa – Canada and the U.S. are launching a pilot program later in November to test out a common meat-cut nomenclature system.
MeatingPlace.com reports that the pilot program is the next step in a years-long effort under the U.S.-Canadian Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to harmonize the nomenclature of wholesale meat cuts that are traded between the two countries.
Phil Kimball, the executive director of the North American Meat Association (NAMA), told MeatingPlace.com that harmonizing the nomenclature “would allow producers in both the U.S. and Canada to ship their products without having to label the cuts for the other country.”
That alone, he says, would reduce added costs. And it’s a move that would reflect the fact that it’s really a North American market, not two separate markets.
Under the pilot program, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will accept the respective names for 21 heavily traded wholesale cuts in a step toward full harmonization, reports MeatingPlace.com.
The nomenclature changes apply only to wholesale trade.
In the first half of 2014, the harmonized nomenclature officially will be incorporated into the Institutional Meat Purchasing Specifications (IMPS), a series of meat product specifications used as a reference for the meat industry and foodservice and institutional buyers, says MeatingPlace.com. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service maintains the IMPS.
CFIA is then expected to use the IMPS nomenclature for its own wholesale specifications, and going forward it will share with the U.S. dual responsibility for the maintenance of the IMPS.
The CFIA will also have a reference document that will list the names in English and French, as required in Canada. That document will not contain information particular to the U.S., like grade designation or portion cut weights and thickness.
In addition, The NAMP Meat Buyers Guide, published by NAMA, will be updated in hard copy and online forms to include the harmonized names and photos of cuts to make it a more universal reference for the Canadian and U.S. meat industry, adds MeatingPlace.com. The Meat Buyer’s Guide is a pictorial representation of the IMPS.
The nomenclature effort with Canada is one of six ongoing initiatives for agriculture and food that fall under FSIS, AMS and CFIA as part of the RCC. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper established the RCC in February 2011.
In the Joint Action Plan for the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council, it says a common approach to naming meat cuts would allow for innovation and product development, and eliminate costs associated with inventory production and maintenance for firms selling into both markets. It would also provide consumers with a simple information system to allow them to make price comparisons and cooking decisions across both countries with no impact on food safety.