This FSIS Notice has expired.  It is provided here for informational purposes.






Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on the Final Rule: Labeling of Natural or Regenerated Collagen Sausage Casings


1.    What is the purpose of this notice?

This notice cancels FSIS Notice 1-02 dated 1/16/2002, which was only distributed in the computerized version. It was not distributed in the printed/hard copy format. Upon receipt of this notice, any copy of FSIS Notice 1-02 should be discarded. Concerns were raised regarding the questions on rework. The Agency has revised those questions to relate to the scope of the final rule on labeling the species of casings. The historical and current industry practices and Agency policies regarding the use of rework have not changed. The Agency is, therefore, re-issuing the notice under a new number. An additional question on exotic species has been added to the questions and answers in this notice.

2.    What does this notice do?

This notice transmits a list of questions and answers to help clarify the final rule regarding the labeling of sausage casings that was published in the Federal Register on August 6, 2001 (66 FR 40843).

3. Does this rule apply to products other than sausages?

Yes, the intent of the rule is to apply to sausage and sausage-like products packed in edible casings. Sausage-like products are those chopped, formed/emulsified, and packed in edible casings. Examples of sausage-like products include products such as bockwurst, meat stick, chicken and binder link, haggis, and meat puddings. For non-sausage-like products, FSIS would encourage the identification of these edible casings or other parts in a manner similar to that required by this regulation. Examples of non-sausage-like products are kiska and headcheese.

4.    If the type of casing is placed in the ingredient statement, does it have to be in the proper order of predominance?

No, the type of casing can be placed at the end of the ingredient statement, e.g., "packed in sheep casing," "encased in collagen casing," "in hog casing," or "formed in collagen casing."

5.    Does the term "regenerated" need to be stated on the label of products in collagen casings?

No, the term "regenerated" does not need to be included in the declaration of the casing.  For example, establishments can place the phrase "packed in collagen casing" on the label.

6.    Does the presence of a "collagen" casing on sausage products need to be identified on the labeling if it is derived from a species other than that which is in the product or if the source of the collagen is unknown?

Yes, the intent of the final rule was to apply to all edible sausage casings. When the source of collagen casings is known, the labeling requirements would be the same as those for natural casings. If the source of collagen is not known, a general statement, e.g., "packed in collagen casing," is required.

7.    If the source of the collagen is known, and it is the same species as the sausage, does collagen have to be declared on the label?

No, the declaration of "collagen casing" is not needed, provided inspection program personnel can verify records documenting the source of the regenerated collagen casings. This verification could be achieved by examining records maintained by the establishment.

8.    Does this rule apply to sausage products that use a co-extrusion technology to form the casing and not stuffed into a casing?


9.    If a company uses several species of natural casings, can one label be used to cover all possible casing sources?

Yes, the label could state, for example, "packed in sheep or hog casing."

10.    How are products labeled that include rework that comes from sausage products packed in natural or regenerated collagen casings?

Since the regulation was not designed to change current industry practice, the use of rework can continue in accordance with historic and current industry practices and Agency policies.  For cooked product containing rework, if identification of the casing material was required on the product that was used as rework, that casing identification must be included on the finished product. For example, a beef frank packed in sheep casing is used as rework in a beef frank packed in beef collagen casing. The beef frank containing the rework with the sheep casing would need to identify the sheep casing in some manner. This requirement can be met by labeling such product with a statement such as, "packed in sheep, hog, or collagen casing."

11.    Are non-amenable species covered by this regulation?

No. While we would encourage the addition of casing information on labels of non-amenable species, the regulation does not require the labeling. The regulation also does not apply to non-amenable species inspected under voluntary inspection. In contrast, an inspected product containing a non-amenable species, e.g., a buffalo sausage, beef added, product, is required to comply with the casing identification labeling.


Philip S. Derfler

Deputy Administrator
Office of Policy, Program Development
  and Evaluation

DISTRIBUTION:  Washington Offices; Field Offices; Import Offices; Inspection Offices; ABB; TRA; T/A Plant Mgt; T/A Inspectors NOTICE EXPIRES:  3/1/2003 OPI: OPPDE/LCPS


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For Additional Information Contact:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
1400 Independence Ave.
Room 602 - Annex Building
Washington, DC  20250
Telephone:  202-205-0279
          Fax:  202-205-3625
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