DES MOINES, Iowa — Porterhouse steak fans now will have the difficult decision of choosing whether they want the delicious cut in beef — or pork.

Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for the National Pork Board, noted that the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, which will turn 40 years old this year, were designed to help clarify cuts of pork for people working in the back of the house at restaurants, and the original nomenclature was anatomy-based.

The National Pork Board began efforts a couple years ago to update the naming system.

Consumers assumed that a pork chop was a pork chop, Fleming said, because there was no differentiation in the name to tell them that there actually are several different cuts that make up a chop.

He noted that grocery stores would cut entire loins, put it all on a tray and sell it cheap because consumers didn’t know that particular portion of pork had many different cuts, just like a beef loin is where Porterhouse steak, the strip steak and the T-bone come from.

That is one of the big reasons that the National Pork Board decided to adopt the beef nomenclature and implement it in the pork market, Fleming explained.

“Beef consumers know ribeyes, Porterhouse and T-bone are better cuts,” he said, which usually are associated with a higher price tag.

A few examples of the new names are the Porterhouse chop and the ribeye chop. A full list of the new pork nomenclature can be viewed at

From consumer research done prior to the name change, Fleming noted, the National Pork Board members, along with representatives of the Beef Checkoff program who were instrumental in the change, were able to determine that customers were most confused by the common name, such as pork loin risen chop, appearing first on the package of meat.

To remedy this situation, he said, the new nomenclature will be the first thing a consumer reads on the label, with the common named moved to the second line, which still will meet all the necessary packaging and labeling regulations.

“Before, consumers didn’t know the difference in chops. Now, they’ll be able to see and read the difference,” he said.

Fleming added that the update to the URMIS also will enhance an individual’s eating experience because they will discover they like different cuts of chops.

The new nomenclature officially was approved at the end of March, and while it may take a while for retailers to get the new system implemented in their establishment, the director believes that consumers will start seeing the newly named cuts of meat grocery stores by early summer — just in time for grilling season.