Byproducts, Variety Meats
|Whether you call it a frankfurter, hot dog, wiener, or
bologna, it's a cooked sausage and a summertime favorite. They can be made from beef, pork, turkey,
or chicken -- the label must state which. And there are Federal standards of identity for their content.|
Frankfurters (a.k.a., hot dogs, wieners, or bologna) are cooked and/or smoked sausages
according to the
Federal standards of identity. Federal standards of identity describe the requirements for processors to
follow in formulating and marketing meat, poultry, and egg products produced in the United States for
sale in this country and in foreign commerce. The standard also requires that they be comminuted
(reduced to minute particles), semisolid products made from one or more kinds of raw skeletal muscle
from livestock (like beef or pork) and may contain poultry meat. Smoking and curing ingredients
contribute to flavor, color, and preservation of the product. They are link-shaped and come in all
sizes -- short, long, thin, and chubby.
The most popular of all categories, the skinless varieties, have been stripped of their casings after
cooking. Water or ice, or both, may be used to facilitate chopping or mixing or to dissolve curing
ingredients. The finished products may not contain more than 30% fat or no more than 10% water, or a
combination of 40% fat and added water. Up to 3.5% non-meat binders and extenders (such as nonfat dry
milk, cereal or dried whole milk) or 2% isolated soy protein may be used, but must be shown in the
ingredients statement on the product's label by its common name.
"Frankfurter, Hot Dog, Wiener, or Bologna With Byproducts" or "With Variety Meats" are made according
to the specifications for cooked and/or smoked sausages (see above), except they consist of not less
than 15% of one or more kinds of raw skeletal muscle meat with raw meat byproducts. The byproducts
(heart, kidney, or liver, for example) must be named with the derived species and be individually
named in the ingredients statement.
Beef Franks or Pork Franks are cooked and/or smoked sausage products made according to the
specifications above, but with meat from a single species and do not include byproducts.
Turkey Franks or Chicken Franks can contain turkey or chicken and turkey or chicken skin and fat in
proportion to a turkey or chicken carcass.
All ingredients in the product must be listed in the ingredients statement in order of predominance,
from highest to lowest amounts.
"Meat" Derived By Advanced Meat Bone Separation & Meat Recovery Systems
The definition of "meat" was amended in December 1994 to include any "meat" product that is produced
by advanced meat/bone separation machinery. This meat is comparable in appearance, texture, and
composition to meat trimmings and similar meat products derived by hand. This new machinery separates
meat from bone by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone without breaking or grinding
the bone. Product produced by advanced meat recovery (AMR) machinery can be labeled using terms
associated with hand-deboned product (e.g., "beef trimmings" and "ground beef").
The AMR machinery cannot grind, crush, or pulverize bones to remove edible meat tissue, and bones must
emerge essentially intact. The meat produced in this manner can contain no more than 150 milligrams
(mg) of calcium per 100 grams product (within a tolerance of 30 mg. of calcium). Products that exceed
the calcium content limit must be labeled "mechanically separated beef or pork" in the ingredients
Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM)
A paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing beef or pork bones, with attached edible
meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat
tissue. Mechanically separated meat has been used in certain meat and meat products since the late
In 1982, a final rule published by FSIS on mechanically separated meat said it was safe and established
a standard of identity for the food product. Some restrictions were made on how much can be used and the
type of products in which it can be used. This restrictions were based on concerns for limited intake of
certain components in MSM like calcium. Mechanically separated meat must be labeled as "mechanically
separated beef or pork" in the ingredients statement. Hot dogs can contain no more than 20% mechanically
separated beef or pork.
Mechanically Separated Poultry (MSP)
Mechanically Separated Poultry (MSP) 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. Mechanically separated poultry has been used in poultry
products since the late 1960's. In 1995, a final rule on mechanically separated poultry said it was
safe and could be used without restrictions. However, it must be labeled as "mechanically separated
chicken or turkey" in the product's ingredients statement. The final rule became effective
November 4, 1996. Hot dogs can contain any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.
Food Product Dating Terms
The labeling on a package of hot dogs may contain one of several different types of dates. Product
dating is voluntary and not required by Federal regulations. If a date is used, it must also state
what the date means.
- "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale.
You should buy the product before the date expires.
- "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for use of the product while at
peak quality. This date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
- "Best if Used By (or Before)" date helps consumers by stating a precise date
for best flavor or quality.
- "Expiration Date" helps stores and consumers by stating the shelf-life or the
last day product should be used while it is wholesome.
Safety After Date Expires
Except for "Use-By" dates, product dates don't always refer to home storage and use after purchase. But
even if the date expires during home storage, a product should be safe, wholesome, and of good quality
(if handled properly and kept at 40 °F or below) for a short period of time after expiration.
Food Safety Guidelines
The same general food safety guidelines apply to hot dogs as to all perishable products -- "Keep them
Hot, Keep them Cold, Keep them Clean." Although all hot dogs are fully cooked, you should reheat them
and make sure they are steamy hot throughout.
Studies have shown a high level of the harmful bacteria listeria on hot dogs. Thus, for added precaution,
persons at risk may choose to avoid eating hot dogs or thoroughly reheat them before eating.
When you leave the grocery store with hot dogs, head straight home and refrigerate or freeze them
immediately. If there is no product date, hot dogs can be safely stored in the unopened package for
2 weeks in the refrigerator; once opened, only 1 week. For maximum quality, freeze hot dogs no longer
than 1 or 2 months. And, of course, never leave hot dogs at room temperature for more than 2 hours,
or in the hot summer months when the temperature goes above 90 °F, no more than 1 hour.
REFERENCE: Code of Federal Regulations, Volume 9, Section 319.180