These 26 foods have required place settings

One of the major goals of food labeling is to make it accurate, easy to understand and not misleading for consumers. That is just one of the jobs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)—and there are more food labels than you may think that are under regulation.

Specifically for places, the general rule of thumb is that if a food is not made in that place, don’t label it as coming from that place. This can’t apply to all food groups, however—we can’t expect that all Swiss cheese come from Switzerland—and so the FSIS has set up guidelines for certain “place” names to denote food preparation styles.

The 26 place names are:

  1. Arkansas
    Arkansas bacon is simply bacon cut from a specific location: the pork shoulder blade Boston roast. That includes parts of the pig that are porcine muscle, fat and bone, vertebrae, joints and bones. After the meat is cut, leaving no more than one-quarter inch of fat covering the roast, the meat is dried, cured and smoked. Outside of Arkansas, this is called Arkansas-style bacon.
  2. Buffalo
    Buffalo may refer to the place (in New York) or the animals—but when it comes to buffalo wings, it’s a pretty simple description: chicken wing sections coated in a spicy sauce. The buffalo-style sauce includes cayenne pepper, vinegar, salt and garlic.
  3. Cajun
    Cajun = Made in Louisiana. Cajun-style, however, is describing a specific set of seasonings: onion, garlic, white pepper, red pepper and black pepper.
  4. Canadian
    Canadian bacon doesn’t necessarily refer to Canada, but to specific requirements for preparation of the boneless pork loin.
  5. Chicago
    Like Canada, foods labeled “Chicago” don’t need to be made in Chicago. A pizza that is made in the Chicago-style calls for cheese directly on top of the crust, followed by meat and sauce.
  6. Chinese
    Include a concoction of soy sauce, grain alcohol or dry sherry wine with a sweetener, and you’re most of the way to creating a Chinese-style product. Other ingredients include garlic or scallions, ginger (or ginger juice) and sesame or peanut oil.
  7. Country
    Country products must be actually made in the country, otherwise known as an unincorporated area. But there are differences between country-fried and country-style. The country-fried products are simply breaded and fried. Country-style products don’t have to be made in the country, but they do need to be made under certain conditions.
  8. English/Australian
    This labeling pertains to pies containing at least 25% meat or meat byproduct, gravy and a puff pastry top. These pies do not contain vegetables.
  9. Hungarian
    Specifically for goulash, it can be labeled as Hungarian-style if it has paprika and at least 25% meat (or 12% poultry meat). Warning: Hungarian-style goulash does not include noodles, potatoes or dumplings.
  10. Irish
    You won’t see any chicken here: that’s because only stews with the Irish name on them can include lamb, mutton or beef, along with vegetables (usually onions, carrots, potatoes and turnips) and occasionally dumplings. Irish stews may not include beans.
  11. Italian (Sausage)
    Italian sausages are a very particular type of sausage, containing at least 85% meat (or a combination of meat and fat, with fat making up no more than 35% of the product), no more than 3% water and a specific blend of spices, including salt, pepper, fennel and/or anise. Italian sausages may also include paprika, red or green peppers, onions, garlic, parsley, sugar dextrose and corn syrup.
  12. Italian (Style)
    The flavor profile of Italian includes anise, fennel and/or an Italian type of cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc.). This style commonly includes basil, garlic, majoram, olive oil and oregano.
    Bonus tip: If you want your minestrone soup to be able to be labeled Italian-style, make sure zucchini is included.
  13. Jamaican
    It all comes down to a few seasonings for Jamaican foods: allspice, garlic, onion, red pepper and thyme.
  14. Mexican
    Mexican-style food can contain any combination of at least four of these ingredients: jalepeño peppers, chili peppers, green chilies, cumin, cayenne peppers, red or green peppers, chili powder, jalapeño powder, Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar cheese.
  15. New Orleans
    Again, this style is focused on just a few ingredients. New Orleans-style must contain at least five of the following: roux base, rice, onion, green onions, garlic, celery, bell peppers, cayenne pepper, white pepper, parsley or tomato.
  16. North Carolina
    Have you prepared your barbecue meat in a pepper and vinegar solution? Congratulations—you may call your creation Eastern North Carolina-style.
  17. St. Louis
    This applies to a specific type of meat: spareribs. The sternum and the ventral portion of the costal cartilages must be removed with the flank portion. Additionally, the cut must be made at a point in which the sternum and costal cartilages are removed dorsal to the curvature of the costal cartilages.
  18. Santa Fe
    Santa Fe-style products must contain chilies with corn or beans, as well as at least one of the following: cheese (cheddar, jack, Mexican-style or fresh goat), bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, cumin, oregano or cilantro. But the guidelines don’t stop there: the type of beans you use must be specific too: black, kidney, navy, pink, pinto, red, white or an indigenous variety are allowed.
  19. Sicilian
    The crust of your Sicilian-style pizza must be 50% or greater of the total pizza content.
  20. Smithfield
    Ham that is aged and dry-cured in Smithfield, Virginia may have the “Smithfield” name on packaging. There is no loophole in this rule: not even Smithfield-style, Smithfield brand or producing it in another town called Smithfield.
  21. Southern
    South of the Mason-Dixie Line and East of the Mississippi River (including Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri) are all considered southern states with southern food. Southern-fried does not fall under this delineation: if the product is breaded and fried, it can be called Southern-fried anywhere.
  22. Southwestern
    Five or more of the following ingredients must be included: beans, corn, chili peppers, bell peppers, cheddar cheese, cilantro, onions (or onion powder), cumin, oregano and garlic (or garlic powder). The product must be either mesquite smoked, or it must have the mesquite smoke flavor added.
  23. Swedish
    Swedish meatballs do not need to be from Sweden. But they do need to contain 65% fresh meat, and a particular blend of ingredients: nutmeg, allspice, potatoes and milk.
  24. Szechwan
    There are four groups of Szechwan variety, and at least one item from three of the four food groups needs to be included: 1) soy sauce; 2) spring onions, scallions or leeks; 3) garlic, ginger or ginger root; 4) chili Szechwan peppercorn or chili oil.
  25. Thai
    Thai-style must include at least five out of: basil, chilies or chili products, cilantro, coconut (or coconut products), coriander, cumin, fish sauce, galangal, garlic, ginger, green onions, jasmine rice, lemongrass, peanuts (or peanut products), rice noodles, shallots or soy sauce.
  26. Vietnamese
    Egg rolls in the Vietnamese-style can only be labeled as such if they contain soy bean noodles (or cellophane noodles) along with fish sauce or anchovy extract.

For more information on any of these styles, click here.

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