Thank goodness that Al Gore (or someone) created the internet and you can search (google) for anything now. I posted earlier about Vernon Cheese sickening a dozen and killing two of its customers with Listeria. Seems like this has been an ongoing problem – at least the recall part. From our friends at FSIS from 2007:

Screen shot 2011-04-07 at 10.24.09 PM.pngPap’s Louisiana Cuisine., a Prairieville, La., firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 290 pounds of head cheese products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

The following products are subject to recall:

• 5-pound packages of “VERON, HOG HEAD CHEESE.” Each package bears the establishment number “EST. 13581” inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as the Use-by/Sell-by date “022807.”

The head cheese products were produced on December 27, 2006, and were distributed to retail establishments in Southeast Louisiana. The problem was discovered through the FSIS routine microbiological testing. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product.

Well, at least in 2007 they were able to recall it before customers got sick.


Head cheese is not a cheese but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig (sometimes a sheep or cow), and often set in aspic. While the parts used can vary, the brain, eyes and ears are often removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart may be included. Head cheese may be flavored with onion, black pepper, allspice, bay leaf, salt, and vinegar. It is usually eaten cold or at room temperature as a luncheon meat. It can also be made from quality trimmings from pork and veal, adding gelatin to the stock as a binder.

  • Minkpuppy

    I provided inspection for head cheese on my last patrol assignment. They commonly used pork snouts, tongues and hearts mixed with green onion and sometimes fresh jalapenos to make their head cheese. The flavoring ingredients vary by locational preferences. It is the most vile smelling concoction while it’s cooking. The only thing with a worse stench is chitterlings. Won’t touch the stuff myself. Blech.
    I suspect this facility is probably old and in need of renovation, making proper sanitation a much higher priority. Our favorite thing to tell these types of plants is “You may not have the money to fix this place up right now but you can keep it CLEAN.” Listeria loves to find little pockets to hide in old plants. This stuff was obviously exposed to the bacteria after it was cooked and prior to packaging.