Sausage has a long history, dating as far back as ancient Greece. Sausage-making became the preferred processing method of domesticated livestock and allowed the use of the entire animal. Once preservation with salt, spices and smoking was discovered, the shelf-life of sausage was extended; sausage then became a staple in Europe. In warm climates, it was typically dried. In colder climates, it could be kept fresh in the winter months and was smoked for preservation in the summer months. Today, the tradition continues predominantly in Europe but now in the Americas as well.
The categories of sausage are seemingly endless ranging from ethnic-style Italian sausage to American-style bologna; this huge array of categories offers variety and flexibility—and a great alternative to the everyday meal. Below is a sample of what sausage has to offer:
Today, the production of sausage consists of comminuting the meat (grinding, chopping, dicing, or emulsifying), seasoning and blending. The blended meat is then stuffed into numerous types of casings: natural, cellulose, collagen, fibrous, or synthetic. Often sold fresh, sausage can also be cooked, smoked, cured, fermented, or dried and is available in many forms, including links, chubs, ropes, patties, loaves, and even bulk.
The misconception of sausage products is that it is made up of the “left-over” parts of an animal. This mistaken belief couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, sausage must adhere to strict specifications and regulations. While it can consist of mixed species (e.g., beef and pork), stringent labeling specifications require precise wording to identify the amount of meat content in a product (see Scale Label examples below).
Scale Label Recommendation
This section is only applicable to the product name component of a label.
The 2014 URMIS System update recommends that three lines be utilized on a scale label. For minimally processed meat cuts—or fresh whole muscle cuts, the recommended format is: Line 1 – Common Name; Line 2 – Characteristics; Line 3 – Ideal Preparation Method. The recommended format for processed products is to utilize all three lines for the product name (see Scale Label examples). This new format will:
The new Processed Sausage Application (see link below) provides a comprehensive list of the most popular random-weight processed sausage items. Most retailers will sell only a limited list of these items. The application offers the option to download item information; the downloaded information can then be edited to include only the retailer’s specific items. Typically, the supplier will have the correct name listed in the principal display panel of the product label. Using the product label name as a guideline, a scale label list can easily be created and cross-referenced to PLUs/SLUs and UPCs.
Processed Sausage Universal Product Codes are maintained as an ongoing effort to provide standards. As the industry transitions to global standards, UPCs and names will remain a viable part of the standard.