November 3, 2017

Settling the Sandwich Debate 

pork-cider-glazed pulled pork.jpgThe great sandwich debate

What comes to mind when you hear the word “sandwich”? One of Datassential’s Most Popular US Sandwiches such as a classic turkey sandwich or ham sandwich? Would you ever classify a hot dog, burrito or wrap as a sandwich? If that seems ludicrous to you, you’re not alone. What better day to settle the sandwich debate than National Sandwich Day.

 

LEGAL DEFINITION OF A sANDWICH chicken-club wrap CMYK.jpg

A quick Google search will reveal that the legal definition of a sandwich is not as obvious as one may think, but rather it’s a complicated, varying answer which has incited debate for years, garnering arguments from organizations such as NPR and the Huffington Post food editors.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a sandwich is defined as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between,” or “one slice of bread covered with food.” In 2016 the long-revered dictionary induced online uproar by declaring that a hot dog is a sandwich

For taxation purposes the definition of a sandwich varies by state. According to the state of New York’s tax bulletin, a sandwich is broadly defined and includes hot dogs, burritos, and even a buttered bagel! But cross the state line into Massachusetts, and the sandwich rules change. A 2006 debate between two well-known restaurant chains resulted in a MA court ruling which determined that a burrito is not a sandwich.

Despite dictionary definitions and legal rulings, the majority of consumers would probably still classify a sandwich as something between two pieces of bread; and credible chefs would most certainly not include hot dogs or burritos in their definition of a sandwich.

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THE usda and fda

If you work in the food industry, you already know that opinion is not sufficient for the sake of product labeling. According to the 200-plus page FSIS Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book, the USDA is responsible for governing meat and most products that contain meat. However, while the USDA inspects all meat used in products, they only govern open-faced sandwiches. It’s actually the FDA who regulates traditional, “closed” sandwiches. FDA.gov offers a succinct overview of which agency holds jurisdiction of meat-related products.

problem solved Ham-corque Monsier hoagie.jpg

Regardless of your definition of a sandwich, Miniat's sous vide cooking can provide the perfect meat for your sandwich.