Can you eat summer sausage casing?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat summer sausage casing?” and discuss its health benefits?

Can you eat summer sausage casing?

Yes, you can eat summer sausage casing. However, you should not eat this type of casing, as the casing of classic summer sausage is inedible. The sausage casing is used to cook and store the sausage. 

There are edible sausage casings. Natural casings, like the inside flesh, are entirely safe to eat. This is not the case of summer sausage casing.

Why should you not eat summer sausage casing?

You should not eat the casing of a summer sausage because it is made of a paper-like fibrous material that is inedible.

In today’s sausage production, various types of casings are employed including: natural, manufactured collagen, cellulose and plastic, as well as the new type of co-extruded casings made of collagen, alginate or alginate-collagen hybrids. 

Traditionally, sausage meat has been stuffed into intestines derived from pigs, sheep, and cattle. The limited supply of animal casings and their relatively high price encouraged the development of alternative types of casings. 

Manufactured collagen casings are composed of both fibrous and solubilized material that is extracted from hides, bones and connective tissue (1).

Inedible casings are designed to be taken away from the sausage slices as you cut them. Alternatively, you can cut each slice and then peel away the casing. This component is formed of cellulose casing that is fibrous. 

Although you can cut slices out of it, it will be difficult to eat the casing. As a result, the majority of sausages you buy will contain edible casings. Any casing that isn’t meant to be eaten will be extremely difficult to chew. Summer sausages have a paper-like fibrous casing that is inedible.

What are the risks of eating the plastic casing off a sausage?

The risk of eating the plastic casing of a sausage is to have a gastric obstruction. If you eat the plastic casing of a sausage, you should be aware of possible unusual symptoms. When eaten in small quantities, plastic foreign bodies do not cause any harm. However, when ingested in large quantities, they may signify a risk to health.

Plastic sausage casings are also made from synthetic polymers; such as PVDC, polyester, polyethylene, polyamide, polypropylene or combinations of these materials. Like cellulose casings, synthetic polymer casings are indigestible and must be removed prior to consumption (1).

When ingested. indigestible objects usually pass into the stomach but occasionally may become lodged in the esophagus. Foreign bodies can cause bowel perforation or gastric obstruction, which develop to abdominal pain and tenderness, nausea, vomiting, fever among other symptoms (7).

Is it okay to eat the casing of a sausage?

The casings of all sausages are safe to eat, depending on its type. Casings made of cellulose and some natural casings are safe to eat, although cellulose is indigestible. 

Casing meats like huge sausages, mortadella, hard salamis, and liver sausages is done with beef casings. During processing of bovine and equine small intestine, the muscular layer is usually not removed, in contrast to sheep and pig small intestine, so these casings, even if considered edible, are not consumed, because they are too hard and difficult to chew (5).

Are sausage casings nutritious?

Sausage casings can be nutritious as long as they are edible and digestible. Some examples of these casings are natural casings made from intestines derived from pigs, sheep, and cattle.

Another example are casings produced from collagen. Collagen casings are composed of both fibrous and solubilized proteinaceous material that is extracted from hides, bones and connective tissue. In a few words, collagen is a polymer composed of animal protein.

These natural sausage casings are nutritious, thus they provide proteins. They help to maintain connective tissue health and mechanical properties of the skin (4).

Other FAQs about Sausages that you may be interested in.

Can you eat summer sausage raw?

Can you eat the casing on ring bologna?

Can You Reheat Sausages?

Can you cook sausages from frozen?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat summer sausage casing?” and we discussed its health benefits?


  1. Suurs, Patricia, and Shai Barbut. Collagen use for co-extruded sausage casings–A review. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2020, 102, 91-101. 
  2. Dos Santos, Bibiana A., et al. Is there a potential consumer market for low‐sodium fermented sausages?. J Food Sci, 2015, 80, S1093-S1099.
  3. Mohan, A. Basics of sausage making, formulation, processing & safety anand. UGA Extension, 2014, 1-48.
  4. Khatri, Mishti, et al. The effects of collagen peptide supplementation on body composition, collagen synthesis, and recovery from joint injury and exercise: a systematic review. Amino acids, 2021, 53, 1493-1506..
  5. Djordjevic, Jasna, et al. Fermented sausage casings. Procedia Food Sci, 2015, 5, 69-72.  
  6. Wen, Siying, et al. Discrimination of in vitro and in vivo digestion products of meat proteins from pork, beef, chicken, and fish. Proteomics, 2015, 15, 3688-3698.
  7. Uyemura, Monte C. Foreign body ingestion in children. Am family phys, 2005, 72, 287-291.

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