Background Banner

USMEF Conducts Beef/Pork Training Program in Guatemala

Published: Apr 06, 2011
Representatives from Guatemala’s retail, food service and processing sectors were introduced to U.S. beef and pork value cuts and variety meat options recently by USMEF-Central America for use in the development of new menu options and merchandising strategies.

Funded with support from the Beef Checkoff and Pork Checkoff programs and USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP), the seminar gave the 28 participants a hands-on look at U.S. beef and pork as they divided into three teams. Each team was tasked with adding value to both beef and pork cuts through a variety of techniques including portion control, targeting products for specific niches and adding a flavor profile.

“We are still familiarizing and educating meat industry professionals in Guatemala regarding the quality and versatility of U.S. red meats,” said Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF’s regional marketing manager for Mexico and Central America. “The objective of this seminar was to present to the participants technical and trade knowledge that can strengthen their abilities to sell our products.”

USMEF Chef Max Covaliu guided the teams through the preparation of dishes using the beef sirloin cap and pork hams. The sirloin cap is one of the most popular beef cuts in Guatemala where it is called “Puyazo.” No trimming is done to the fat cap. The fresh, deboned hams are the most common pork cut sold in Guatemala. All fat caps are trimmed and they use it as a whole piece.

Chef Covaliu also led the teams in beef and pork cutting sessions and a value-added education session. In the process, seminar participants learned how to use a portable vacuum packaging machine and how this technology would be beneficial in their businesses.

The seminar was the third of 16 educational programs scheduled in Central America and Mexico throughout 2011. Mexico was the United States top market for U.S. beef in 2010 (247,614 metric tons or 545.9 million pounds valued at $819.1 million) and the top volume market for U.S. pork (545,732 metric tons or 1.2 billion pounds valued at $986.7 million). Last year the United States exported 59,405 metric tons (131 million pounds) of pork products to Central and South America – led by Honduras and Guatemala – valued at $141.3 million. The region purchased 16,930 metric tons (37.3 million pounds) of U.S. beef valued at $47.3 million.