I'm not sure I really want to know the answer to this, but in the United States, are sausage manufacturers required to specify certain cuts of meats in their sausages, or does "beef" or "pork" suffice?

The reason I ask is that some brands of chorizo sausage disclose with great specificity what parts of the pig go inside their casing. For instance, the cuts in the Cacique brand pork chorizo contain:


Cacique chorizo ingredients

On the other hand, several other brands simply list "PORK" as the meat. Is this disclosure (or concealment) by marketing choice, or are certain cuts required to be explicitly called out in the ingredients?

  • 1
    You need to specify a location, there are country and local level laws. – GdD May 22 at 13:59
  • @GdD done, thanks for the reminder. – Jeff Axelrod May 22 at 14:03
  • I'm reminded of 'law & sausage', though it must be said I really don't care how they make law & I probably don't want to know how they make sausage ;-)) I once made the unfortunate choice to read the ingredients list on a haggis… & these days rarely can be persuaded to eat it. – Tetsujin May 22 at 15:57
  • I am no expert on US regulations (thus this is a comment rather than an answer) but I found that this company lists 3 pork products on their website, 2 of which have these ingredients while the third justs lists "pork". I suspect these ingredients might be considered pork byproducts rather than actual pork. – LSchoon May 22 at 19:54
  • Does the packaging state "Product of USA" or another country? – user3169 May 23 at 4:43

Following on from my comment, I have found some (old) US government documents that seem to answer this question. TL;DR: salivary glands, lymph nodes, and fat are "pork byproducts" (thus not "pork") and as such must be named explicitly on the ingredients list.

The long answer: The USDA's 2005 Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book lists:

MEAT BYPRODUCTS: Byproducts must be individually declared by species and specific name in the ingredients statement, e.g., Pork Liver, Beef Tripe, and Beef fat.


“(Species) tongue trimmings” may also be used to identify salivary glands, lymph nodes, and fat from which the muscle tissue has not been removed.

(note that OP's ingredient list specifies "Cheeks", suggesting that these may indeed be "tongue trimmings". A different USDA website gives some idea of what is considered a "byproduct":

virtually all parts of the live animal that are not part of the dressed carcass.

The policy book further defines Chorizo (which OP's product is marketed as) as:

CHORIZO (SP): The product name “Chorizo” can be used for any type of chorizo sausage that is cooked, dry, semi-dry, cured and fresh without further product name qualification. Other requirements for various types of chorizo apply, including the sausage standard.

Finally, we can find the following text:

SAUSAGE CLASSIFICATION: [...] Cooked sausages and/or Smoked sausages: [...] Meat byproducts may be used when permitted by standard.

There are a few plot holes:

  • There is no mention of byproducts in any type of sausage other than "cooked and/or smoked", so I cannot tell if they are allowed or not.
  • The policy book has an entry that seems to forbid the inclusion of these ingredients, contradicting the quotes above:

    Trimmings with fat from tongue is acceptable ingredient in cooked sausage products covered under section 9 CFR 319.180 of the regulations. Lymph nodes and salivary glands are not acceptable ingredients.

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