This week, the U.S. Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications Series (IMPS) documents for fresh beef, lamb, veal and pork were released. Based on feedback from stakeholders, the United States and Canada earlier this year agreed to harmonize the terminology used for wholesale meat cuts by adopting the U.S. Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications as the standard meat nomenclature.

 “Adopting a common trade language is beneficial to industry, and enhances trade and opportunities for American producers,” said USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo. “Meat production in the U.S. and Canada is highly integrated, and using the same terminology benefits industry by reducing costs of maintaining separate inventories, and facilitates the efficient trade with our Canadian partners.”

The new bilingual Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Wholesale Meat Specifications Document (WMSD) containing the same meat cut nomenclature information as the IMPS will be released in the near future. Previously, trade between the two countries could be hindered due to cut names and labeling requirements. The Canadian meat classification system was based on a regulatory document known as the Meat Cuts Manual. The United States uses the IMPS, a set of voluntary standards maintained by AMS. Large volume purchasers such as Federal, state and local government agencies, schools, restaurants, hotels, and other food service users reference the IMPS when purchasing meat products. While both documents had many similarities in the cut descriptions and names, they were not inclusive and omitted certain cuts with differing names. The full list of applicable meat cut names can be found here

The revisions announced today bring the IMPS in line with current industry practices and marketplace offerings for meat cuts. Other revisions include updated document appearance and clarifications to Material Requirements and Purchaser Specified Options. The entire IMPS series includes eleven documents addressing meat handling, refrigeration, and packaging; code referenced descriptions for beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat, variety meats, sausages, and cooked meat products; and quality assurance provisions recommended for use by any quality control activity.

These are the first revisions made under a recent bilateral agreement known as the United States and Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) initiative. This RCC initiative is aimed at harmonizing meat cut nomenclature between the two countries and facilitating trade.

In early 2011, the United States and Canada created the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to accelerate trade and travel between the two nations. The RCC goal was to establish clear, consistent standards to identify products to make it easier for industries to do business on both sides of the border. For more information, visit: