2019 Center of the Plate Training held at Texas A&M University

Davey Griffin at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Davey Griffin at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

The 2019 Center of the Plate Training, sponsored by the North American Meat Institute, was held at the Rosenthal Meat Center at Texas A&M University on June 18-20, 2019. The Center of the Plate Training is designed for purchasers and sellers of meat and poultry to better understand the nomenclature and utilization of cuts for the foodservice and retail sectors. Ann Wells, Director, Education and Workforce Development, North American Meat Institute, is the coordinator of the program, and Davey Griffin, professor and Extension meat specialist, Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, provided on-campus leadership and served as the primary cutting instructor for the beef, veal, lamb, and pork portions of the program. Jeff Savell, distinguished professor of animal science, and Chris Kerth, associate professor of animal science, also helped with delivery of the program.

Davey Griffin reading from the Meat Buyer's Guide

Davey Griffin reading from the Meat Buyer’s Guide

The North American Meat Institute conducts the Center of the Plate Training in conjunction with the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Science Association, Chicago Midwest Meat Association, Southwest Meat Association, Southeastern Meat Association, and Canadian Meat Council. Sponsors included the Beef Checkoff, the Pork Checkoff, the Lamb Checkoff, and Merck Animal Health. Representatives from the American Lamb Board, and the National Pork Board participated in the program.

Davey Griffin talking about anatomy

Davey Griffin talking about anatomy

Davey Griffin talking about beef grading

Davey Griffin talking about beef grading

The Center of the Plate Training is conducted in a classroom environment. Over 90 participants interacted with the instructors who performed cutting demonstrations showing where the cuts came from and the numbering and nomenclature system used to describe them. The Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS), maintained and published by the United States Department of Agriculture, are the basis for all product identification. The North American Meat Institute publishes the Meat Buyer’s Guide, which provides a pictorial description of the IMPS and is the workbook used throughout the training program.

Davey Griffin breaking a beef forequarter

Davey Griffin breaking a beef forequarter

Davey Griffin talking about beef rib cuts

Davey Griffin talking about beef rib cuts

The pork portion of the training was conducted by Jimmy Murray and Clay Eastwood of the National Pork Board with assistance from Davey Griffin.

Jim Murray and Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, and Davey Griffin, cutting pork at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, talking about pork quality at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, talking about pork quality at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, cutting pork

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, cutting pork

The poultry portion of the training was conducted by members of the Agricultural Marketing Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Richard Lawson and Gerald Laird led the discussion on poultry grading, terminology, and common uses of specific poultry products.

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, talking about poultry standards at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, talking about poultry standards at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, discussing poultry grading

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, discussing poultry grading

Richard Lawson talking about poultry grading standards at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Richard Lawson talking about poultry grading standards

Gerald Laird talking about poultry products

Gerald Laird talking about poultry products

The final portion of the program was a discussion of processed meats led by Chris Kerth. Kerth gave a presentation on processed meat ingredients and labeling, and he showed a variety of locally available processed meat products and the labels and marketing claims made for each.

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling

Texas A&M University has hosted the Center of the Plate Training since 2005, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with the North American Meat Institute on this program each year.

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