Pork's new image includes renaming chops

When shopping at your local meat counter, you may soon notice new names on your favorite cuts of pork.

“The new names will help change the way consumers and retailers talk about pork,” said National Pork Board president Conley Nelson in an April 5 news release. “But more importantly, the simpler names will help clear up confusion that consumers currently experience at the meat case, helping to move more pork in the long term.”

The National Pork Board teamed up with the National Cattlemen’s Meat Association to conduct market research that concluded that consumers are often confused by different names for similar cuts of meat, and as a result, do not know how to properly cook some kinds of meat.

The most notable change will be to the pork chop, which will soon be known as the pork porterhouse chop.

“There is a lot more uniformity with name recognition, in relation to the beef side of things,” said Mike Woltmann of Kingston, the District 2 director for the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

Woltmann noted that in addition to giving similar names to comparable beef and pork cuts, the National Pork Board recently changed its recommended cooking guidelines for pork to a minimum temperature of between 145 and 160 degrees, the same as similar cuts of beef.

“It’s not bad to have a little pinkness in your pork chop,” Woltmann said.

The National Pork Board will begin a marketing campaign soon to help consumers, retailers, and restaurants transition to the new naming scheme. However, not everyone in the pork industry plans to comply with the changes.

“I’m cooking what I’m cooking,” said Bob Dempsey, longtime manager of Fay’s Pork Chop Bar-B-Que in Waterman. “I am into this 52 years, and I’m not changing now.”

“You can call a skunk by any other name but it’s still a skunk,” he added.

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