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Meat cuts manual

Beef | Horse | Lamb | Pork | Poultry | Veal
Wholesale meat specifications document


The Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations as well as the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, which are administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at all levels of trade, require that meat cuts, organs, and other carcass parts be identified on labels with proper common names.

The primary objective of this Uniform Meat Cut Nomenclature System (UMCNS) is not to unduly restrict acceptable meat cutting practices but rather, to ensure that meat, which is cut and offered for sale, is properly identified in a meaningful and uniform way. In essence, this program is designed to provide the trade and consumers with a simple and informative system of nomenclature which will ensure the use of standardized terms in the naming of meat cuts, discourage any misuse of these terms and provide consumers with information which they require in making price comparisons and in selecting cooking methods.

The common names for meat cuts which appear in this manual were developed jointly with industry, learning institutions, and other government agencies and are the common names which must be used in labelling all beef, veal, pork, lamb, and poultry meat cuts.

The definitions enclosed in this manual establish limits within which these cut names may be used.

In establishing this UMCNS, it is recognized that other cutting methods also exist. Such cutting methods are not to be objected to as long as the meat is properly identified in accordance with the common names and definitions contained in this manual.

For example, products which are cut in a manner which differs from that provided by the descriptions such as a chicken cut which contains portions of leg and back are acceptable provided they are adequately identified and are not misrepresented, e.g., "chicken legs with back attached". This latter common name is acceptable because it clearly indicates the true nature of the cut in question

Finally, non-descriptive fanciful and coined names which lead to mistaken identity or to deception are frequently in violation of subsection 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act and subsection 6(1) of the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

Wholesale meat specifications document

Meat cut nomenclature exemptions

  • Although the terms appearing in the attached diagrams must be used in the labelling of meat cuts, these terms need not be used for products such as stewing beef, beef shishkebob, pork fondue or for other meat which has been broken down into small pieces
  • The name(s) of the cut(s) from which ground meat is prepared need not be used to describe this product
  • Minute (mechanically tenderized) steaks taken from the beef hip must be labelled with either:
    • the appropriate specific term, e.g., "rump minute steaks"; or
    • the term "hip" (i.e., "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 term given in the diagram.