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Wholesale meat specifications document


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Wholesale Meat Specifications Document (WMSD) has been developed as a result of a thorough review of the current wholesale meat-cut nomenclature. The CFIA administers the Safe Food for Canadians Act, the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations, which require that meat cuts, organs and other carcass parts be identified on labels with proper common names.

The information about the meat cut names and their specifications and item numbers contained in this document is identical to that found in the Institutional Purchase Specifications (IMPS) documents developed and maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Services (USDA-AMS) and the Meat Buyer's Guide, which is developed and maintained by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

This document provides industry and consumers with a simple and informative system of nomenclature that will ensure the use of standardized terms in the naming of meat cuts, discourage any misuse of these terms and provide consumers with information to compare prices and select cooking methods.

The names contained in this document were finalized jointly by the CFIA, USDA-AMS and North American industry.

Any names that lead to mistaken identity or to deception are in violation of subsection 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act and subsection 6(1) of the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

The order of presentation of the names is as follows:

  1. 100 series – Beef
  2. 200 series – Lamb
  3. 300 series – Veal
  4. 400 series – Pork
  5. Poultry and turkey


Toward the front of the carcass, or forward of.
Blast frozen
Products are frozen rapidly at extremely low temperatures (≤ −23°C) in conjunction with high-velocity air movement around the product.
Block ready
A cut that is marketed ready for further processing or portioning.
Boned rolled and tied (or netted).
  • To split cuts and roasts in half, leaving the halves hinged on one edge.
  • To split chops, cutlets and roasts in half, leaving the halves hinged on one edge.
The dressed, harvested animal containing two "sides".
Center cut
Term used to indicate the interior portion of a cut after removal of outer edges or ends to create a more desirable, uniform portion.
The side muscle of the tenderloin.
A temperature related term generally used to describe "fresh" product.
Chine bone
A part of the backbone that remains after the carcass is split.
Reduction of meat particle size, using such methods as grinding, dicing and chopping.
Dorsal to
Toward the upper or top line of the carcass away from the navel.
End cuts
Cuts made from the ends of primal or sub-primal cuts. Ends often lack the uniformity of the adjacent cuts.
The process of removing the internal organs from the carcass during harvest.
The process by which the bone is exposed after removing the M. intercostales interni and/or the lean and fat surrounding it to provide a decorative appearance.
Refers to meats that have not been canned, cured, smoked, or cooked. In addition to the above, the product must never have been frozen.
Refers to meats that have been reduced in temperature to below the freezing temperature of meat (< −2.22°C).
Acronym for "Individual Muscle" designating that a cut is composed of one muscle only.
Acronym for "Individually Quick Frozen". Refers to cuts that have been individually quick frozen at extremely low temperatures immediately after processing.
Away from the median plane that divides the carcass vertically into right and left sides.
Leaf fat
The fat lining from the abdominal wall in pork
Towards the median plane that divides the carcass vertically into right and left sides.
Net weight
Weight of the contents of a container after the weight of the packaging and packing materials has been deducted.
Posterior to
Towards the rear of the carcass, or backward of.
Primal cuts
Basic major cuts into which carcasses and sides are separated.
Purchaser Specified Option
One matched half of a lamb / veal / pork or beef carcass.
Sub-primal cuts
Smaller cuts derived from primal cuts.
Toward the belly of the carcass away from the upper or top line.
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