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Published: Jun 18, 2016

Initiating a project designed to develop new pork products for the Mexican market, USMEF recently held its first “U.S. Pork Processing: Innovation in Product Development” workshop involving some of Mexico’s largest pork importers. Five more workshops are scheduled this year, each funded by the Pork Checkoff and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).

Participants in the first of six “U.S. Pork Processing: Innovation in Product Development” workshops in Mexico gather for a session

Helping the entire pork supply chain generate profits is the project’s ultimate goal, said Chad Russell, USMEF regional director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic.

“This project begins with the workshops and extensive outreach to Mexican meat processing firms, allowing our meat consultants to get to know the issues, challenges and opportunities of each company involved,” explained Russell. “Those companies that show the greatest promise and potential to source more U.S. pork will be given in-house tailored training at their facilities as another step in the project.”

Held at the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) campus in Monterrey, Mexico, the workshops are structured with a series of presentations on pork processing, as well as overviews of the U.S. pork industry and information about the advantages of using U.S. pork.

Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF marketing director, gives an overview of the U.S. pork industry to representatives of Mexico’s leading pork processors

The series of workshops is scheduled to run through November, with the second and third stages of the project to be developed at the end of this year and into 2017. The second stage will include the task of selecting the most potentially profitable new U.S. pork product developed during the workshops. The third stage will feature USMEF supporting the launch of the selected product at the retail level, or in the sector deemed most profitable.

Hands-on lessons about processing pork were part of the USMEF workshops, which featured meat science professors from the ITESM

ITESM is partnering with USMEF, providing meat science professors to conduct and support the workshops, which combine hands-on practical experience with presentations and activities over two days. The first workshop included an introduction by USMEF Marketing Director Gerardo Rodriguez, followed by a U.S. pork industry overview and a presentation by Dr. Sergio Serna on the nutritional value of pork. Other topics covered in the workshop included:

  • Pre-slaughter management of pork and slaughtering techniques
  • Evaluation and grading of pork carcass
  • Practical experience in the meat processing lab
  • Production and evaluation of patties, hams and links
  • Utilization of lean and fatty pork meat and offals

Seventeen companies took part in the first workshop, while 16 different companies have registered for the second workshop, scheduled for May 25-26.