Frequently Asked Questions

Per USDA regulations, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are not permitted in any kind of fresh pork sausage. On the other hand, cooked and cured meats like hams, hotdogs, pork smoked sausage, bologna and salami products contain sodium nitrite. USDA considers it a “restricted ingredient,” which means it is regulated and only allowed in very small amounts (in sodium nitrite’s case, 200 ppm ingoing). The process of cooking and smoking the cured meat actually uses up the ingoing nitrite: analysis of a finished product containing 200 ppm nitrite would typically have less than 10 ppm or less after the cooking process.

Many people think nitrites are bad for them. Actually, USDA has found the opposite: Based on available evidence to date, nitrite as used in meat and meat products is considered safe because known benefits outweigh potential risks. In summary, our fresh pork sausages do not contain sodium nitrite, but each of or fully cooked and cured items do. Nitrite in meat:

  • Greatly delays development of botulism
  • Develops cured meat flavor and color
  • Retards development of rancidity, off-odors and off-flavors during storage
  • Inhibits development of warmed-over flavor
  • Preserves flavors of spices, smoke, etc.

Adding nitrite to meat is only part of the curing process. Ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) is added because of its effect on flavor. Sugar is added to reduce the salt’s harshness. Spices and other flavorings are often added to achieve a characteristic “brand” flavor. Most—but not all—cured meat products are smoked after the curing process to impart a smoked meat flavor. Sodium nitrite, rather than sodium nitrate, is most commonly used for curing.

In a series of normal reactions, nitrite is converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide combines with myoglobin, the pigment responsible for the natural red color of uncured meat. They form nitric oxide myoglobin, which is a deep red color (as in uncooked dry sausage) that changes to the characteristic bright pink normally associated with cured and smoked meat (such as in wieners and ham) when heated during the smoking process.

Our products do not contain gluten in the form of wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, you should always read the ingredient details on the label as formulas change from time to time.

We do not presently identify or label any of the products we produce with the claim “gluten free” as the standard for the term has not yet been finalized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the rule making process.

Upon publication of the proposed rule, we intend to re-evaluate our ability to apply the claim “gluten free” to our products. Until such time, we will continue to comply with existing regulations governing the identification of products and ingredients.

It is an adverse reaction to a food or food component that involves that body’s immune system. If you have questions or concerns about food allergens and our products, please contact us.

Our retail products do not contain MSG. Please check product labels for ingredient details as formulas can change from time to time.

Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork is USDA Process Verified for the following points:

  • All market hogs can be source-verified to Salmon Creek Farms Marketing Association partner farms.
  • Use of Paylean™ (Ractopamine) is prohibited in the production of Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork.
  • No rendered animal proteins (including meat meal, bone meal, or blood meal) are used in the production of Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork.
  • All hogs used in Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork are sourced from PQA Plus certified producers.
  • Salmon Creek Farms Marketing Association performs meat quality evaluations.

The USDA Process Verified Program provides suppliers of agricultural products or services with the opportunity to assure customers of their ability to provide consistent quality products or services. It is limited to programs (or portions of programs) where specified process verified points are supported by a documented quality management system. The specified process verified points are identified by the supplier. The USDA Process Verified Program uses the International Organizations for Standardization’s ISO 9000 series standards for documented quality management systems as a format for evaluating program documentation to ensure consistent auditing practices and promote international recognition of audit results. Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork will continue to maintain extensive documentation and undergo annual comprehensive audits by USDA AMS as part of the USDA Process Verification program.

SQF stands for Safe Quality Food. The SQF Program is a fully integrated food safety and quality management protocol designed specifically for the food sector. Developed over 10 years, it is designed specifically for the food industry with application at all links in the food supply chain.

SQF Certification provides an independent and external validation that a product, process, or service complies with international, regulatory, and other specified standard(s). It also enables a food supplier to give assurances that food has been produced, prepared, and handled according to the highest possible standards.

SQF is designed to support industry or company branded products. Suppliers design and implement customized management systems to demonstrate equivalence with GAP/GMP and other best practice programs. Achieving SQF certification indicates a supplier’s commitment to producing safe, quality food.

For an answer to this question, check out this video from our partner farmers.

Products can be frozen for up to one year. However, most products are best if consumed within 6 months.