With its 450 specialties, charcuteries are the expression of a centuries-old art of living dedicated to simple pleasures, sharing and conviviality. They not only reflect high-calibre creativity but also top-level craftsmanship.
Quality is a core value for companies that produce charcuteries and cured meat products. To guarantee the absolute safety of products, they rigorously select their suppliers and have regular inspections carried out by independent bodies. This allows the quality of products to be monitored at every stage of their life cycle.
Information about various
The curing of ham
The temperature of each ham, the thickness of the fat and the weight are the criteria that will determine the curing time for each ham. Butchers will then undertake the salting, after which they’ll set the temperature between 0 and 3 degrees, to stabilize the product’s water content before moving on to the next stage: the drying. This method is useful for verifying how supple each ham is, to ensure that water loss be consistent from the heart of the ham to its outer skin. It must always remain supple. Butchers will then probe the meat to discover its aromas, especially toasted hazelnuts, which is our signature. Hams will then be matured for a few months, in order to unlock flavours and develop a soft texture. The curing time depends on the size of the ham.
The steps to give lardons a smoky taste
- The first step is to generate smoke using wood chips, as well as an electrical resistance. The amount of oxygen is controlled by flameless combustion.
- The second step is to place the meat inside a closed smoked space, where the 2-to-3-hour smoking process is carried out. Humidity is controlled so that the smoke can adhere to the product without dripping.
- The last step is the choice of wood species, which determines the taste and the colour of the final product.
Gelatin in charcuteries
Gelatin is naturally produced during the cooking of certain meat cuts. Liquid when warm, it solidifies upon cooling.
Depending on context, gelatin has several functions:
- In the making of pâtés and terrines, gelatin is used to fill in any gaps created during cooking by the evaporation of water from the meat.
- It can make it possible to bring together different pieces of meat, as is the case with jellied pork tongue, head cheese or marbled ham.
- Added to the surface of some products, such as liver pâté, its aim is to protect the product and enhance its aesthetic appearance.
- It can be used as protection and casing, as is the case for andouillettes.
Traceability and Quality
The traceability of products is ensured from the raw material stage all the way through to retailer shelves. The selection of raw materials relies on detailed specifications that allow companies to ensure the quality of their supplies, also outlining a set of good production practices that all suppliers must follow.
The quality of products is guaranteed thanks to regular inspections and thousands of annual checks.
The quality of products begins with the monitoring of meats, which are systematically checked upon arrival.
Two main criteria are assessed :
- Microbiological quality: microbiological analyses are carried out at every level (raw materials, environment, line samples and finished products).
- Technological and taste quality: evaluations are performed in the form of a systematic review of muscles.
In the event of an anomaly, traceability makes it possible to quickly inform consumers and withdraw products from the various points of sale. What’s more, in order to take this pursuit of food quality and safety even further, companies also favour supply chains that are ecologically sound and animal friendly.
Here are our numerous commitments
- Reducing the use of natural and energy resources for livestock farming (water, electricity)
- Reducing pollution and disturbances brought about by pig farming
- Respect for animal welfare (building design, quality of lighting with alternating day/night presets, room required per animal, etc.)
- Monitoring of animals by veterinarian (prophylaxis, record-keeping, traceability)
- Nutritional tracking of animals (no animal meal in particular)
- Development of local production (positive impact on local economy, environmental impact, impact on transport)
- Optimize the animals’ nutrition
- Slaughtering and cutting: compliance with rules concerning animal welfare (transport, suitable buildings, stabling, resting and watering) and traceability (origins and sanitary controls)
In order to better meet consumer expectations, French charcuterie makers also work on continually optimizing their products, for instance the organoleptic and nutritional quality of recipes, as well as the sound management of packaging.
Livestock farming, transport and slaughter conditions all have an impact on the quality of the product, as do the various production steps. Also, respecting animal welfare guarantees the quality of our products.
The origin of the meat
Farmers label their animals at birth with a marking code that will follow the animal. Proof of origin is thus ensured throughout the supply chain, up to the end consumer.
This great diversity of raw materials, production methods, recipes and ingredients amounts to a huge range of flavours and textures, which adds variety to meals full of enjoyment and conviviality.
Consumed in reasonable amounts and taken as part of a varied and balanced diet, charcuteries rightfully belong in our plates.
While each family of products boasts its own nutritional values, charcuteries as a whole are defined by:
Proteins of high biological value, supplying essential amino acids
High-quality fats: 57% unsaturated fats, which includes more than 12% of polyunsaturated and a near absence of trans unsaturated fats.
Significant amount of B3, B6, PP, B12 vitamins
Trace elements of haem iron, zinc and selenium
Commitments made by producers
In order to always better meet consumers’ nutritional and health expectations, and to keep offering quality products, charcuterie makers have committed to the following:
Less salt, less fat
In 2010, industrial and artisanal french charcuterie makers signed a first voluntary charter committing to nutritional progress, where they pledged to reduce by 5%the average sodium and fat content, by setting maximum thresholds, of 9 categories of widely consumed products: prime cooked ham,dry-cured hams, lardons, country-style pâtés, pork liver pâtés and mousses, pork rillettes, Knack sausages, superior-grade dry sausages and pure pork dry sausages. Taking this initiative further, in 2015, charcuterie makers signed a new collective agreement with the aim of applying this 5% reduction to 12 new product categories.
They were thus able to achieve an overall reduction of:
- 1040 tonnes per year of salt
- 2836 tonnes per year of fat included in the major characterie products
Thanks to the latest technological breakthroughs, producers have committed to further reduce their use, both in terms of the number of substances and their quantities. They limit their use of nitrites to an absolute minimum, while guaranteeing their products’ microbiological safety (botulism, salmonella, listeriosis) and organoleptic quality.
This commitment was enshrined in the Code des Usages de la Charcuterie, de la Salaison et des Conserves de Viandes. European regulations set the upper limit at 150 mg/kg.