Artisan Salami Maker is Shut Down by Wisconsin DATCP for Label Mishap

PictureFood Freedom USA 

Bolzano Artisan Meats is in the midst of a legal fight with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP).  Like with raw milk, food politics are the focus once again.

DATCP did not want Bolzano Artisan Meats creating salami that was made with active cultures, using only fermentation and drying. In working to do so, Bolzano Artisan Meats became a model state inspected plant – one of the top officials at DATCP stated in email to Bolzano Artisan Meats that Bolzano had a better understanding of HACCP than most people he works with. Even new inspectors volunteered to come to the plant, unpaid, to see the operation, because they were so advanced and thorough in their methods.   

Balzano’s downfall was accidentally uncovering that DATCP was either intentionally, or out of incompetence, interfering with regulatory and food safety information that DATCP needed to get to the USDA, and the USDA intended to get to plants, and then the agency went on the attack against the artisan salami maker.

The DATCP ordered recalls of their products, were not even letting Balzano sell products they had in production that were not part of the recall, and has forced the artisan food producer to go out of business after 5 years, and they may soon destroy about $50,000 worth of the worlds finest salami.

Fortunately, Balzano has retained the legal defense of Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Balzano Artisan Meats has also set up a fundraising campaign at to help with legal fees, living expenses, and to just maybe help this husband and wife team of Scott and Christine Buer relaunch their company.

“DATCP is charged by law with promoting Wisconsin agriculture and
          food manufacturing- in the case of Bolzano Meats the department
          failed this duty miserably. DATCP shut down a quality producer when
         there was nothing close to a threat to the public health. Anyone who
         thinks HACCP is a good idea should look at what happened to Bolzano.”
          Pete Kennedy, Esq.
          Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Handcrafted heirloom pork salami from Bolzano Artisan Meats


The Buers started the Balzano Artisan Meats in 2009. Bolzano was the first company in Wisconsin to bring back the lost art of dry curing, and one of the only in the nation to make their products from locally raised heirloom hogs. All the pigs they use to make their products come from small farms and are raised without antibiotics or hormones.

Bolzano is one of the few in the nation to make salami the traditional European fashion. Cases of salami subject to recall may bear the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WDATCP) inspection label, but the individual product packages may be misbranded with the CIS program version of the USDA Mark of Inspection.

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 – Bolzano Artisan Meats LLC, a Milwaukee, Wis. establishment is recalling approximately 5,723 pounds of salami products for misbranding and because they were produced without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.  Products produced under the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WDATCP) inspection program are eligible for sale within the state of Wisconsin when they bear the Wisconsin state inspection shield on the immediate package.  The products being recalled, however, incorrectly bear the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program version of the USDA Mark of Inspection, which requires federal acceptance into the program.  Because the establishment is not part of the CIS program, products they produced and distributed bearing the CIS program version of the USDA Mark of Inspection cannot be sold through interstate commerce. USDA 

Conflict With Food Safety Agency Forces Closure Of Bolzano Artisan Meats of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


For five years, the husband-and-wife team of Scott Buer and Christin Johnstone-Buer of Bolzano Artisan Meats had been Wisconsin’s heirloom pork salami company, making a unique, active-culture product that has been winning over fans across the state and the US.

Their salami making process uses a very slow European method that skips cooking in favor of slow fermenting and drying. It is a fact that the Buers love the science of food, and enjoyed working with food scientists at the university and the USDA. But their love of artisan meats has put them on the wrong side of DATCP, when according to Buer they accidentally uncovered that the state agency had been doing things that have been devastating to small businesses and small business programs.

Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture ordered all production and sales at Balzano Artisan Meats to stop production and is readying the destruction of around $50,000 worth of salami that the USDA, the highest food safety authority in the nation, declared to be safe and wholesome.

How you can help.
Scott and Christine Buer of Bolzano Artisan Meats needs your help to end this conflict and to assist their mission of keeping sustainable farming and artisan food making alive. The Buers have set up a fundraising campaign to help them come back someday and share more of their artisanal creations

 DATCP’s opinion: The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection suspended the license because Bolzano changed to a new production process that hasn’t been verified by the state as safe, said Raechelle Cline, a spokeswoman for the department. She said she didn’t know what the change was.

“We suspended their license temporarily until we can determine whether or not it’s a food-safe process, and then they can restart production,” she said. “We are charged with the responsibility of ensuring food safety for the public, and that’s all we’re trying to do.”

Any Bolzano meat that’s available in stores should be safe for consumption because it was produced before Bolzano changed its process, Cline said.

The USDA recalled 5,700 pounds of Bolzano salami a few weeks ago because it was labeled as federally inspected, when Bolzano is actually a state-licensed plant, Cline said. The license suspension was not related to the recall, she said.

Bolzano had operated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for five years, and had been active in the Wisconsin Artisan Food Producers Association.


From the Bolzano Artisan Meats website.
We started Bolzano Artisan Meats in 2009 as the first company in Wisconsin to bring back the lost art of dry curing. We were pioneers in using heirloom hogs, and we are one of the few companies in the nation to make salami the very difficult, traditional way, without the common shortcut of cooking.

We’re a husband-and-wife team who both grew up in the Milwaukee area in big families where old fashioned food preservation was just something the family did. Only when we got older did we realize other kids were not adept at fermenting sauerkraut and yogurt.

Our love of all things delicious and local brought us together and led us to make charcuterie at home, while our bookish tendencies led us to learn the science of great meats and to navigate notoriously strict meat processing laws.

Local pork and charcuterie isn’t something we dabble in here and there. It’s the only thing we do. And we ourselves aren’t just owners – we personally trim, grind, mix, stuff, ferment, dry and package every link (with the help of family and friends of course). So even though we are one of the smallest meat companies in Wisconsin, we make more charcuterie, and to higher standards, in one batch than most restaurants do in years.

Our facility is in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, in what was built as a dairy in the 1950’s and what was most recently home to a Wisconsin craft distillery. There’s not a store at our facility, but we’re making up for that with plenty of delicious events where you can meet us, talk with us, and sample our product

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