Summer Sausage

Boosting Food Safety in Artisanal Sausage While Maintaining Taste, Quality

A protocol developed at the University of Guelph is letting meat processors strengthen food safety in fermented sausages without using heat.

Since 2014, provincially licensed meat processing plants have been required to adopt one of the five interventions identified in Health Canada’s Guideline 12 for the control of E.coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella in fermented sausages.

Traditional processes for making fermented sausage products like salami and summer sausage don’t allow for the use of heat over 33C.

So meat processors had to find a way to be compliant - but without heat, which can change the taste and texture of the artisanal products.

That’s when the Ontario Independent Meat Processors (OIMP) together with three processors used funding received through Growing Forward 2 to approach the University of Guelph’s Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety to help find a solution.

OIMP wanted to find a way for the industry to control pathogens in fermented sausages outside of the interventions approved by Health Canada. They wanted their members to be able to continue offering artisanal quality product without compromising food safety and regulatory compliance.

A CRIFS team developed a protocol that can decrease pathogens to Health Canada-approved levels by adding natural antimicrobials to the meat during the sausage-making process.

The products are shelf-ready in only three to four weeks from the first day of processing, with no change in appearance or palatability, and the protocol is applicable to production batches of all sizes.

The goal was to develop a solution that processors can immediately and easily apply. Previous work of this nature, called “challenge studies”, had to be completed in the United States because there were no Canadian facilities with the required equipment and expertise available to industry for use.

Although the project was specific to fermented sausage, these principles of pathogen control could also be applicable to other ready-to-eat meat products, cheese, and even fruits and vegetables in the future.

The work completed through this project will help OIMP’s members retain their current markets, as well as expand into new ones in the future.

The applicant for this project was the Ontario Independent Meat Processors
Funding for this project was provided by Growing Forward 2 (GF2) a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with the delivery of GF2 programming in Ontario.