I’m sure it comes to no surprise to anyone that processed meats like hot dogs, spam, and salami are not exactly what you should be calling health food! Still, most of us would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that certain standards have been met so that the “meat” does reach some sort of a reasonable quality.

Over the last few weeks there has been a lot in the news about the low protein percentage as well as the fecal matter that was found in salami that has been sold in the Dominican Republic. So to address this problem instead of requiring that the meat processors meet the standards the Standards and Quality Systems Agency’s (Digenor) Technical Committee took a more novel approach, officially lower the standards of the salami so that it can now be sold as meeting the official standards.

As reported in Dominican Today, the standards for the required protein content of Dominican Salami have been lowered substantially.

New Dominican Republic Salami Standards

For the highest quality of Salami (premium) the standard for protein levels went from the previous 22% to 13%. For the medium quality salami (special) the protein level standard dropped from 20% to 10% and for the lowest quality of salami (standard) the required protein level dropped from 16% to 8%.

To give us an idea on industry standards in the US, I have checked the labeling of a few Hot Dog containers. Once again Hot Dogs are not exactly considered “health Food” most of the brands I have checked for beef hot dogs rate at about 14%-16% protein. Most sausages seemed to do a little better at near 20% with one turkey sausage coming in at 52% protein.

So, if only 8% of the sausage is protein, what is the rest? At this point I haven’t been able to come of with the Dominican Standard but in the US up to 40% can be fat and water, and the rest of the ingredients kind of go downhill from there.

I’ve also noticed in the reports about Dominican Sausage mention about Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) and Mechanically Separated Poultry (MSP). These are the descriptions as provided by the USDA

  • Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) – Mechanically separated meat is a paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue.

    In the US Due to FSIS regulations enacted in 2004 to protect consumers against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, mechanically separated beef is considered inedible and is prohibited for use as human food. It is not permitted in hot dogs or any other processed product.

    Hot dogs can contain no more than 20% mechanically separated pork.

  • Mechanically Separated Poultry (MSP) – Mechanically separated poultry is a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue.

    In the US hot dogs can contain any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.

To Eat Salami or Not to Eat Salami.. That is the Question!

OK, I don’t often get a chance to quote Shakespeare in my my posts. However it is an interesting question. Personally I think Dominican Salami is awesome (although I would like to pass on the fecal matter). So for me, once they seem to get the fecal matter out of the equation I will probably once again start eating my favorite brand on occasion, likely a little less often though. Besides, I haven’t stopped eating cake just because it isn’t exactly good for me either.