[Sca-cooks] Pepperoni contents

Laureen Hart lhart at graycomputer.com
Wed Aug 6 15:03:31 PDT 2008

A quick review of the pepperoni brands availabe from my distributor show all
but one are pork and beef blend.  The one exception is all beef.  Many of
the mid-range and lower brands will blanace the meat proportions to meat a
cost profile . . . when beef is cheaper, they add more beef, etc.  The
higher end brands will create a flavor and texture profile, then sell it at
the needed price.

niccolo difrancesco
(pizza is my entire existence these days)


If your pepperoni is coming from a USDA inspected facility they better not
be messing about with the formula much. The USDA is hyper strict about label
compliance. If beef is on the label before pork there better be more beef
than pork. When you submit your label for approval you need to include the
I used to be the head of QA/QC at a small company that made sausage,
pepperoni, salami (actual aged, molded salami...sigh) and other fresh and
cured meat products. In addition to label compliance there is standard of
identity compliance - pepperoni must be all muscle meat, no organ meat. If
it wasn't made of pork and/ or beef it has to have the meat type (like
turkey) a prominent part of the label in a minimum of print size.

We made an alternate product that had beef and pork hearts in it and it was
called "Peppy" rather than pepperoni. Slightly different spice block as well
as meat block. Right after I started working there I discovered the plant
manager was substituting all pork hearts rather than half and half like the
formula called for. His theory is "hearts is hearts, who cares" The USDA
cares, not because of health safety issues, but because of "economic fraud".
People may perceive that X meat is more costly and valuable than Y meat and
they may shop accordingly. If you have more of Y meat than X meat they will
feel ripped off. I was candid with our management and inspector, and they
let the plant manager go because he couldn't understand he had to deliver
what was on the label. (I will also note that many local restaurants
purchased peppy because it was cheaper, and put it on their menus as
pepperoni, no USDA looking over their shoulder...)

It was a crazy, fattening, place to work. We eventually merged with a bigger
company that did a lot of meat cutting as well as other cooked or cured
products. The new plant also had a separate room that housed a kosher
butcher. Eventually the whole plant migrated to being a fish holding and
shipping place and we all lost our jobs but I learned a ton. Unfortunately I
learned to like a good fermented hard wine cured salami and it is hard to
find among the bland greasy offerings in your average store. 
Randell in Madrone...dreaming of Italian meat products

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