The Industry-Wide Cooperative Meat Identification Standard Committee (ICMISC) was formed in 1972. Its membership is made up of retailers, packers/processors, government agencies, academics and allied industry representatives. This committee in 1973 approved the original Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards (URMIS).
The objective of URMIS is to lessen confusion among consumers when purchasing retail meat cuts. The use of URMIS is not required by regulation. Its use is voluntary. However, most retailers use the system.
The National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff recently spent 18 months doing research on how to improve URMIS. The objective of the research was to determine how URMIS can be updated to help consumers better understand the beef and pork cuts they see at the retail meat case. The end result of the research is a tested system that includes; simplified cut names and preparation information.
At this time the revisions apply only to beef and pork. A revised naming system for lamb and poultry will follow. The new URMIS standard has been reviewed and approved by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Retailers will start using the new naming system this summer.
The new retail names consist of two key components; common name and characteristics. The common name includes a cut identifier or description (e.g. sirloin tip, T-bone and tenderloin) and a cut form or shape (e.g. steak, roast, chop and filet). The characteristics include; class (beef, pork), primal or sub-primal identifier, bone state (bone-in, boneless) and a cutting standard (thickness, muscle, value added attributes). Some examples are:
Common Name/ Characteristics
Porterhouse Steak/ beef, loin, bone-in
Porterhouse Chop/ pork, loin, bone-in
The complete retail label will have three lines.
- Common name
- Preparation suggestions
Following are examples of new pork retail cut names.
- Pork Loin Chop = Pork Porterhouse Chop
- Pork Rib Chop = Pork Ribeye Chop
- Pork Top Loin Chop = Pork New York Chop
An excellent source of information on the new URMIS labels is www.meattrack.com. MeatTrack is sponsored by; Cattleman’s Beef Board (CBB), National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Pork Board (NPB), and American Lamb Board (ALB). The National Chicken Council (NCC) and National Turkey Federation (NTF) are participating organizations in MeatTrack.
The objective of MeatTrack is to provide information on standardized identification of meat cuts (URMIS) and tracking systems for meat cuts. Membership in MeatTrack is free. Just go to their website www.meattrack.com and sign up for membership (upper right hand corner of their home web page). The long term objectives of MeatTrack are to improve consumer’s satisfaction with meat products and improve consumer demand for meat products. Check out the website. It has lots of good information.