HEB Sausage Supplier Recall Announced

There’s an old adage that there are two things in life one never wants to see made. One is law and the other is sausage. On Wednesday, June 13th, the latter part of that got a boost when a supplier of sausage to the large HEB grocery chain, J Bar B Foods of Waelder, Texas, announced a voluntary recall of 411,000 pounds of beef brisket smoked sausage which was produced with a pork casing not declared on the label. The recalled products include “H-E-B Texas Heritage sausage smoked with natural hardwood beef brisket,” bearing USDA number EST.7066, produced between June 21, 2016, to May 29, 2018, in 12-ounce packages. No illnesses have been reported with this product and the recall is precautionary. The issue upon which the recall is based is not tainted meat, but possible allergic reactions in people who can’t eat pork products.

To understand what’s going on, a brief look into the fine art of making sausage is required. Sausage has two components, a filling and a casing. The casing has for centuries been made of animal intestines which are emptied, washed and filled with ground up meat, spices and some water. Then, it’s hung in ovens or over fires to slowly cook or smoke. Makes me drool and get dreamy-eyed just thinking about it!

In recent years, intestines (usually pork) have been replaced by protein-based, synthetic casings. There is nothing wrong with the old intestine method (unless of course you’re the pig who owned em, and you vegetarians and vegans probably stopped reading a while ago) but because some religions forbid the eating of pork and people with food allergies need to monitor what they eat, the synthetic casings are widely popular. Soooo… if you slip the old pork casings in without saying so on the label, it’s a major labeling no-no.

Frankly, to make a sorry pun on a similar product, I’m mystified as to how someone could have bought such a yummy sounding product two years ago and still have some around. The smoked sausage I buy barely makes it to my car! So, if hauling your sausage back at the HEB where you bought it sounds like too big a hassle, please feel free to drive over and toss it my way. Pork, beef, whatever… my grill can handle em all!