Exciting Day for Meat: All The Meats Are Getting New Names

Looks like one more staple of Americana was just added to the list of things we'll have to explain to our space-children a thousand years from now when they ask us "What was April 4, 2013 like?" Pork chops are about to be eliminated forever.

The National Pork Board and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association ("Big Pig" and "Big Beef" to oppressed little guys like us) have recently received USDA approval to update the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards (to us: "the meat names"), a voluntary meat-labeling system used by a CNN-estimated 85% of retailers.

The new names are designed to make selecting a package of meat less confusing, by adopting descriptions of cuts people are already familiar with from restaurant menus. They're expected to start showing up on products by summer, the time of year when Americans typically select a parcel of meat from the supermarket at random, place it over an open flame in an outdoor setting, then douse it with barbecue sauce and hope for the best.

Under the new system, "boneless shoulder top blade steak" will become "a flatiron steak." "Beef under blade boneless steak" will become a "Denver steak." Various cuts of pork chops will become "New York chops," "ribeye chops," and "T-Bone chops." "Beef loin top sirloin cubes" will become "kabobs." And "pork butt" will become a "Boston roast," because Boston is for butts and PHILLY RULES. (Actually, "pork butt" is made from the shoulder of a pig. See? It was a bad system.)

Though the change will affect many cuts of meat, not all the names are going to change; ground beef will remain "ground beef," because it's one of the few labels people actually understood. There are currently no plans in place to rename the sexy chicken parts (breasts, thighs, etc.).

Because who doesn't want more, more, always more, the new labels will bear not only familiar letters rearranged in a systematic way to form different-but-readable English names; they'll also feature information about the part of the animal's body from which the meat was cut (chuck, rib, loin), plus suggested cooking guide lines ("grilled" for tender meat; "stewed" for tougher).

For supermarket connoisseurs who don't like the idea of their meat becoming dumbed-down, the new labels will also include the old information underneath the new name. (You can see a mock-up here.)

All of which is to say: go home tonight, hold your family close, and cook them up some pork chops and applesauce while you still can.

[Reuters / CNN / NPR // Shutterstock]