The U.S. and Canada this week released agreed-upon nomenclature for wholesale meat cuts that will harmonize trade of fresh beef, lamb, veal and pork between the two countries.
U.S. and Canada in February announced plans to streamline the nomenclature – officially the U.S. Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications – as a result of feedback from stakeholders.
Large volume institutional purchasers such as Federal, state and local government agencies, schools, restaurants, hotels, and other food service users reference the IMPS when purchasing meat products.
Canada's version of the standards will be released by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will be released in the near future, USDA said.
"Adopting a common trade language is beneficial to industry, and enhances trade and opportunities for American producers," said USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Anne Alonzo. "Meat production in the U.S. and Canada is highly integrated, and using the same terminology benefits industry by reducing costs of maintaining separate inventories, and facilitates the efficient trade with our Canadian partners."
Previously, trade between the two countries could be hindered due to cut names and labeling requirements. The Canadian meat classification system was based on a regulatory document known as the Meat Cuts Manual. The United States uses the IMPS, a set of voluntary standards maintained by AMS.
While both documents had many similarities in the cut descriptions and names, they were not inclusive and omitted certain cuts with differing names.
The revisions announced today bring the IMPS in line with current industry practices and marketplace offerings for meat cuts, USDA said. Other revisions include updated document appearance and clarifications to Material Requirements and Purchaser Specified Options.
The entire IMPS series includes eleven documents addressing meat handling, refrigeration, and packaging; code referenced descriptions for beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat, variety meats, sausages, and cooked meat products; and quality assurance provisions recommended for use by any quality control activity.
These are the first revisions made under a recent bilateral agreement known as the United States and Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council initiative. This RCC initiative is aimed at harmonizing meat cut nomenclature between the two countries and facilitating trade.