Bacon, Headcheese Seized at Bayless' Grill

Uncertified meats to blame

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bravo
    Rick Bayless won Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" spin off.

    Illinois Department of Agriculture inspectors have carted away bacon and headcheese from a prominent Chicago eatery.

    The government agency that inspects meat, stopped by Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/Xoco restaurants and forced workers there to trash some of the eatery’s meat, according to the Chicago Reader’s Mike Sula.

    Sula surmises that the USDA raid is connected to a line in a food column of his in which he links the restaurants to a pair of unlicensed sausage makers from the suburbs.

    Here's what: I happened to mention both in my story about a pair of suburban stay-at-home dads who make and sell bacon and sausage without having proper USDA certification.

    Mind you, I didn't say either restaurant was using products cured or smoked by the underground charcutiers, E & P Meats—they don't. I just said they shared a supplier—a farmer who raises his pigs naturally and has them slaughtered by a government-certified processor. There are stamps on the bellies to prove it. Representatives for both restaurants told me the feds said that their action was prompted by the story.

    Agriculture department spokesman Jeff Squibb said the agency confiscated an 80-pound box of bacon that bore no mark of inspection and an unknown amount of headcheese. The product was from Maple Creek Farm in Pewaukee, Wis. and bore a Wisconsin mark of inspection.
          
    A Frontera spokesman Jenn Fite said the visit was not a business-stopping action for the Chicago restaurant. She said all
    its other meat was properly inspected and sourced.
          
    Colleen O'Keefe of the state agriculture department's food safety division says the headcheese is probably fine. However, she
    says it is not legal to sell meat in Illinois that has not been federally inspected in the state.
          
    O'Keefe says Bayless will be fined and the meat destroyed.