USMEF Participates in Pork Variety Meat Summit


Paul Clayton, USMEF senior vice president for technical services, served as a panelist for last week’s National Pork Board summit focused on enhancing utilization and marketability of pork variety meat and pork by-products. The meeting was held June 17-18 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Clayton was on an industry panel with David Peterson, vice president of international sales for Seaboard Foods, and Dr. Dermot Hayes, professor of economics at Iowa State University. The panel discussed the trade restrictions and documentation requirements variety meat items face in selected markets, the shelf-life challenges involved in exporting variety meat in chilled form and emerging markets that hold promise as potential future destinations for variety meat.

“Pork variety meat exports are very important for enhancing carcass value, so it’s critical that we develop new markets and expand the range of products that are eligible for export,” Clayton said. “With our access to China being rather limited, we’ve increased our focus on markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa also hold promise for variety meat exports.”

A group of meat scientists from Iowa State University, Colorado State University, North Carolina State University and WPF Technical Services joined pork producers and staff members from the National Pork Board, USMEF and the National Pork Producers Council for a discussion of pork industry research aimed at developing new uses for pork variety meat and pork by-products.

“Some very creative ideas have emerged as a result of this research, especially in the area of processed meat items,” Clayton explained. “For example, they are examining a technique that allows jowl meat to be processed into a low-cost product similar to bacon, as well as a mixture of liver, kidney and heart that is ground and processed into a sliceable loaf. These items could attract a lot of interest in markets that have a need for economically priced proteins.”

“Because a very significant portion of variety meats and by-products go into rendering, or lower value products, this is an effort to create new opportunities for exporters and, ultimately, to add value throughout the production chain,” said Becca Nepple, vice president of international marketing for the National Pork Board. “Insight and input garnered at this summit will guide further Pork Checkoff research and efforts focused on expanding exports.”