The meat industry still faces a lack of agreement on standardization of terms or codes to define and describe meat products, says Nelson Huerta Leidenz, U.S. Meat Export Federation Latin America director of technical services.
That's why with the help of the Beef Checkoff and several partnering countries, USMEF worked to develop a new international beef nomenclature guide, which provides equivalent names for the most common U.S. beef cuts for 33 different countries and regions.
The guide, which also includes comparable names for lesser-known value cuts in selected Latin American markets, is intended as a tool to lessen confusion and eliminate duplication.
"Globalization of the meat industry and the multiplicity of terms used in international meat trade has complicated our industry," Leidenz said. "Our goal is to give exporters a ready reference for those cuts that are most commonly traded so that bilingual labeling will not be an issue."
Currently, products from the U.S. are required to be labeled using the language of the country of destination, posing a greater challenge for U.S. exporters to keep up with changing regulations, Leidenz noted.
"The English language can no longer be considered the universal language to describe meat products; however, its influence in the commercial language of meat trade has been acknowledged and adopted in traditional exporting-importing countries such as Argentina to the United Kingdom, or the United States to Mexico," Leidenz explained in the guide's foreword.
He noted that though the USMEF Bilingual Labeling Guide is available in English for exporters, as is a USMEF Glossary of Beef Cuts for Latin America, the latest guide includes the listing of 52 U.S. cuts and equivalent names for more than 35 countries.
"This newest project is the result of a never-ending endeavor, especially as the US beef industry further penetrates the global market, and is discovering differences among cut styles to be able to establish the corresponding equivalent terms," Leidenz said.
The U.S., China, the EU, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, Panama, Russia, South America, South Korea and Taiwan contributed to the guide.
English and Spanish versions of the guide are online.