Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Cauliflower boudin? That’s sacrilege!

smoked boudin
Cajun-style smoked boudin blanc. It contains ground meat, rice and spices  — photo courtesy Wikipedia

The entire fight over what can and can’t be called rice has spilled over into a food that many in South Louisiana consider sacred — boudin.

For those not familiar with boudin, it is a sausage made of meat, whether pork, liver or even crawfish, rice and spices. Some boudin also contains blood, kind of like a blood sausage.

The mixture is either formed into balls, rolled in bread crumbs or similar coating and fried, or stuffed into casings like sausage links.

A handful of butchers and meat markets in the Acadiana area have started selling what they call “ultra-low carb boudin” or even “carb-less boudin.” What makes the products ultra-low carb is their substitution of cauliflower for rice.

Here’s where I have a rift. The meat markets don’t label it as “cauliflower boudin.” Only when you read the product description do you realize that it contains no rice. At the very least, it should be called “cauliflower boudin,” but even then it’s a bit misleading.

Consumers expect certain things when they buy boudin— meat, rice and spices.

Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration has no standard of identity for boudin, so companies can make just about any type of sausage-like product and call it such.

This is the latest in a trend where cauliflower is being substituted for grains. USA Rice has been fighting “cauliflower rice” for the past few years, saying the term is misleading to consumers.

The rice group has urged the FDA to develop a standard of identity for rice, stipulating it’s a grain that belongs to the genus Oryza (for regular rice) and genus Zizania (for wild rice).

Codex, which governs international food standards, already prohibits the use of the term “rice” for anything but the grains mentioned above.

Maybe the FDA should get on board, too.


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