[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 148 (Wednesday, July 31, 1996)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 39853-39854]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-19387]


Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 317 and 381

[Docket No. 96-020N]

Labeling of Sausages Made With Natural Casings

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of policy statement.


SUMMARY: FSIS is clarifying its policy on the labeling of meat or 
poultry sausages made with natural casings. The casings of such 
sausages must be derived from the animal species indicated by the 
product labeling. A sausage made with natural casings derived from a 

[[Page 39854]]

species is misbranded unless the product name is appropriately 
qualified or unless the statement of ingredients indicates the species 
from which the casings are derived.

Labeling Division, FSIS, West End Court Building, Washington, DC; (202) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Sausages are prepared using single or 
multiple species of meat or poultry. Some sausages are made with non-
edible casings that must be removed before eating. Others are made with 
edible casings, such as those made from cellulose or collagen. Still 
others are made with natural casings, also referred to as animal 
casings, which are prepared from various sections of the viscera. Some 
sausages prepared in natural casings may have the species identified in 
the product name or statement of ingredients on the product label. 
However, sausages may also be made with natural casings derived from a 
species that is not identified on the label. For example, a combination 
beef-and-lamb sausage may be made with a pork casing.
    The use of any particular type of casing is commonly determined by 
the price and availability of the casings and the size and shape of the 
sausage product. Natural casings are not prepared from poultry because 
poultry intestines are not the appropriate size for sausages 
customarily consumed in this country. More importantly, FSIS has only 
recently determined poultry intestines to be edible.
    FSIS believes that consumers of sausages made with natural casings 
expect the casings to be derived from the same species as the species 
indicated on the product label, whether in the product name or in the 
ingredients statement. For example, the natural casing of a sausage 
labeled ``beef sausage'' should be derived from cattle. Similarly, FSIS 
believes that consumers of poultry sausage, e.g., chicken sausage, 
expect the sausage to be made from poultry and would not necessarily 
expect the casing to be derived from a red meat source.
    Therefore, FSIS considers a sausage made with natural casings 
derived from a different species to be a misbranded product, unless the 
species from which the casings are derived is indicated in the product 
name or listed in the ingredients statement, or is in both places on 
the product label.

    Done, at Washington, D.C., on: July 23, 1996.
Michael R. Taylor,
Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety.
[FR Doc. 96-19387 Filed 7-30-96; 8:45 am]