MENU

How to Read a Foodservice Label

Every label on a foodservice pork product has a few basic pieces of information you must be able to identify: packer/brand, product code, NAMP number, product name, product size, pack size and storage information. Always look for these pieces of information when identifying a product.

Packer/Brand

The label may carry the manufacturer’s name or brand or a distributor’s name or brand.

Product Code

You will see the manufacturer’s code on all product labels. This is the code the manufacturer uses to identify and inventory the product. You may also find a distributor product code or UPC number on the label of a distributor brand product.

NAMP Number

This is the number used by the North American Meat Processors Association Meat Buyer’s Guide to identify each foodservice cut of meat.

Product Name

This is the name of the specific cut or processed product in the case. This may also carry the sub primal cut identifier.

Product Size

This will vary with each product. If you check any section, you will see that not all products are sized. Those that are sized will have the size specified on the label.

Pack Size

This is the size or net weight of the case itself. It will often be shown in both standard and metric weights. Some items will have a “catch weight,” meaning that each piece or individual case will be weighed before shipping to determine the price, using the weight multiplied by price per pound. This catch weight will often be identified using two decimal places.

Storage Information

This is the information used to determine shipping and storage locations and conditions, for example, refrigerated, frozen or cool, dry location. The label may also indicate a temperature or temperature range recommended for ideal storage.

Below are three product labels with each piece of information identified with notes. Not all labels are the same, but the basic information should appear on most labels in a similar fashion.

 

Product Label

A. Packer/Manufacturer
B. Manufacturer’s Product Code
C. Sub Primal Identifier
D. Product Name
E. Product Size
F. Pack Size
G. Pack Size Metric
H. Storage Information
I. Bar Code for Warehouse and Inventory Identification

Product Label-1

A. Product Brand
B. Packer/Manufacturer
C. Manufacturer’s Product Code
D. Preparation Identifier
E. Product Name
F. Ingredients Statement for Prepared Products
G. Pack Size
H. Storage Information
I. Bar Code for Warehouse and Inventory Identification

Product Label-2

Here is a label more typical of a packer or commodity product. All of the information is here to identify the product. The product is a fresh, pork shoulder, 3 pieces to a box. Although it is identified on the label, you can see the importance of referencing the IMPS number for a more comprehensive product description. Although it is identified on the label, you can see the importance of referencing the for a more comprehensive product description.

A. Packer/Manufacturer
B. Manufacturer’s Product Code
C. Distributor Code
D. Product Name
E. Pack Size
F. Storage Information
G. Establishment Number and USDA Inspection “bug”
H. Pack Date
I. Bar Code for Warehouse and Inventory Identification