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Don't Eat the Sausage!
During the few years that I spent as a utility butcher for a large Midwestern slaughterhouse, I had the opportunity to observe first-hand how a popular fast food chain’s sausage was made. The company I worked for had a small wing devoted to making this sausage, and subcontracted another company to run the operation. All they needed from us was the fresh pork trimmings.
Our production line was set up the same as many other meat production lines. The pork loins, or hams, or shoulders, etc. would run past us on a conveyer at a rapid rate, about 900 pieces an hour. We had to trim up what we could as fast as we could and throw the trimmings onto another conveyer which carried them to a larges stainless steel combo bin. When the bin was full, it was taken by forklift to a scale, where it was weighed and then taken right to the sausage area to be seasoned and ground into sausage and made into patties.
But also at the same time, there were several other combo bins in the same area, and many of them were used for trash and floor sweepings. The floor sweepings consisted of everything from mud to chewing gum to chewing tobacco. There was a lot of splintered wood from broken pallets as well. The person assigned to clean up and dump all of this mess into the correct combo bin didn’t always pay attention to what he was doing, and a lot of this crap went straight to the pork grinder to make the yummy breakfast sandwich sausage that we all buy on the way to work. The day I observed this happening, was the day I quit eating fast food sausage.
I used to always enjoy eating that famous canned meat that comes in a square can. I loved to slice it up and fry it for sandwiches or to have with my eggs in the morning. But then I decided to start putting a little Saturday overtime in at the slaughterhouse to process the hogs that were sequestered due to tuberculosis. The USDA would inspect the body cavity of each hog and the ones that showed signs of the disease were red-tagged and pushed off onto a different track. By the end of the week there were a large number of these hogs, and on Saturdays we would come in and cut them up in to 10” square chunks. The chunks were tossed into yet another combo bin and marked “PFC” (Passed for Cooking). They were shipped off to a popular canned meat company and processed into the canned “ham” that I liked so much…until that day.
I have learned over the years in the meat business that anything that is overly processed is not good for you. Processing usually involves a lot of nitrites and nitrates, not to mention incredibly high levels of salt. Your best bet is to cook your own fresh meat yourself and slice it for sandwiches or for whatever you need it for. Staying away from processed foods will help to lower your blood pressure and will help your body in many other ways as well.
You can make your own sausage patties very easily at home. All you do is use your choice of ground meat (pork, beef or turkey, etc., or a combination of either), mix it with a little maple syrup, some sage, salt and pepper and some red pepper flakes if you like it spicy. You can improvise and add other seasonings like fennel or dill. The sky’s the limit on homemade sausage. Just slap the mixture into patties and fry them up.
I hope that this short piece was helpful to you. Have a blessed day. Thanks for stopping by.
©2012 by Del Banks