Introduction

The origin of fermented meat products still remains unknown, although the history of fermented sausages goes back more than 2000 years in Mediterranean countries (1). Today's sausages are still made from the ancient recipe: comminuted meat, mixed with salt and spices, and stuffed into casings, then ripened and dried. Sausages can be surface treated—smoked or molded. Industrial development in the second half of the 19th century led to use of interior as well as exterior starter cultures to control sausage manufacturing.

Fermented meat products are found in most parts of the world, although Europe is the major producer and consumer of these products. Dry fermented sausage manufacture is a very important part of the meat industry in Europe. In the European Union, fermented sausage production amounted to 689,000 tonnes in 1988 (Table 1). In 1988, Germany (40%) and the Mediterranean countries (60%) were the main producers of fermented meat products.

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