Guidelines Regarding Retail Meat Cutting: Nomenclature Requirements

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for administering the requirements of the Uniform Retail Meat Cut Nomenclature Program.

Retailers are responsible for ensuring that the names used to describe meat cuts on labels and in advertisements include the appropriate specific term indicated in the diagrams.

Program Objectives

The primary objectives of the Uniform Retail Meat Cut Nomenclature Program are to:

  1. ensure the use of standardized terms in the naming of meat cuts,
  2. discourage misuse of these terms, and
  3. provide consumers with information about the location of each cut within the carcass. This information assists consumers in making price and quality comparisons between cuts and in selecting appropriate cooking methods.

Retail Meat Cut Labelling Requirements

Prepackaged meat cuts offered for sale at retail must be marked with:

  1. the name of the cut,
  2. the name and address of the retailer,
  3. the net quantity,
  4. the packaging date,
  5. the durable life of the meat cut unless the durable life is indicated on a poster next to the product, and
  6. the words "previously frozen" if a meat cut that has been frozen is thawed prior to sale unless the words "previously frozen" appear on a poster next to the product.

Common Name Requirements

  1. The name used to describe all meat cuts other than beef must include an indication of the species. For example, the term "veal" must appear in conjunction with the term "shoulder" when a veal shoulder roast is offered for sale. However, the term "beef" need not appear on the label of a beef shoulder roast.
  2. The name used to describe all variety meats must include an indication of the species. For example, all packages of liver must indicate whether the liver is beef, pork or chicken, etc.
  3. While the Uniform Retail Meat Cut Nomenclature Program is not designed to unduly restrict acceptable meat cutting practices, the enclosed diagrams do establish limits or areas within which each specific cut name may be used. Portions of meat which extend beyond the limits for a given common name must therefore be labelled with a term which refers to both of the areas involved. For example, while the portion of chicken obtained from the area defined as "leg" must be identified as "chicken legs," a portion of chicken which includes not only the leg but also the back (or portion thereof) must be labelled as "chicken legs with backs attached."
  4. The common name of a portion of meat that has been significantly modified through cutting or removal of certain portions must include the appropriate specific term indicated in the attached diagrams, and an appropriate specific modifier. For example, if a veal shoulder is divided into "blade" and "arm" portions, the proper common names for these veal shoulder cuts must include the appropriate modifiers "arm" or "blade." The proper common names for these cuts therefore become "veal shoulder arm" and "veal shoulder blade." Similarly, a complete portion of "sirloin tip" from which the "eye of sirloin tip" has been removed must be labelled "sirloin tip, eye removed."
  5. If desired, meaningful modifiers such as "boneless" and nondescriptive modifiers such as "New York" may be used in conjunction with the required specific terms provided they are not deceptive or misleading (e.g., "boneless rump roast," "Delmonico rib eye steak").
  6. Grades apply to carcasses only and have not been established for meat cuts. Therefore, advertisements which include statements such as "Canada AA sirloin steak" are not acceptable. However, an advertisement for sirloin steaks which have been cut from carcasses which were graded Canada AA may include the statement "cut from Canada AA beef."

Retail Meat Cut Nomenclature Exemptions

  1. These terms need not be used for products such as stewing beef, beef shish kebob, pork fondue or for other meat which has been broken down into small unidentifiable pieces.
  2. The name(s) of the cut(s) from which ground beef is prepared need not be used to describe this product. Section B.14.015 of the Food and Drug Regulations requires that ground beef be labelled as "regular ground beef," "medium ground beef" or "lean ground beef."
  3. Minute (mechanically tenderized) steaks taken from the beef hip must be labelled with either:
    • the appropriate specific term indicated in the attached beef diagram (e.g., "rump minute steaks"), or
    • the term "hip" (e.g., "hip minute steaks").

    Minute steaks which come from parts of the carcass other than the hip must in all cases be labelled with the appropriate specific term given in the diagram. (Continued)

Beef

Beef - Diagram of meat cuts

  1. The term "loin" may not be used to describe retail beef cuts. The term "tenderloin" may be used to describe the main muscle (psoas major and minor) which is removed from the inside (ventral) portion of the loin.
  2. The term "short loin" may not be used to describe retail beef cuts. The term "shell loin" or "strip loin, bone in" may be used to describe any portion of the short loin from which the tenderloin is removed. The term "strip loin" may be used to describe any portion of the short loin from which the tenderloin and bones have been removed.
  3. (a) Rib Eye: means that boneless portion of the Rib containing the large round-shaped muscle (longissimus dorsi) located at the vertebral end of the ribs. It may contain the closely adjacent muscle, spinalis dorsi.
    Note: The term Boneless Rib should be used if any other muscles are present.
    (b) The term "prime rib" may be used to describe the posterior six ribs (7 to 12 inclusive) of the rib section.
  4. The term "eye of sirloin tip" may be used to describe the one triangular shaped muscle (vastus lateralis) contained in the sirloin tip. The term "sirloin tip, eye removed" may be used to describe a complete portion of sirloin tip from which the "eye of sirloin tip" has been removed.
  5. "Porterhouse" may also be referred to as "T-bone."
  6. The term "round, eye removed" may be used to describe a full round from which the "eye of round" has been removed.

Pork

Pork - Diagram of meat cuts

  1. The term "pork neck bones" may be used to describe the neck bones and adhering meat, including the cervical vertebrae part of the occipital bone and up to three thoracic vertebrae with adjoining ribs. The term "pork riblets" may be used to describe the rib portion of the neck bones.
  2. The term "pork back ribs" may be used to describe the strip or individual pieces of rib bones, including the adherent connecting meat tissue obtained from the rib half of the loin.
  3. The term "pork tenderloin" may be used to describe the main muscle (psoas major and minor) removed from the inside (ventral) portion of the loin.
  4. The term "button bones" may be used to describe that portion of the back bones (transverse process of the lumbar vertebrae) with the adherent connecting meat tissues removed from the loin.

Veal

Veal - Diagram of meat cuts

  1. "Veal rib" when sold as a roast or complete portion may be referred to as "rack of veal."
  2. The term "veal cutlet" may be used to describe pieces of boneless mechanically tenderized muscles obtained from any portion of the rump, round, sirloin tip or sirloin.

Lamb

Lamb - Diagram of meat cuts

  1. "Lamb rib" when sold as a roast or complete portion may be referred to as "rack of lamb."

Poultry

Poultry - Diagram of meat cuts

  1. "Front quarter" may also be referred to as "breast quarter."
  2. "Hind quarter" may also be referred to as "leg quarter."