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German-Iranian friction boosts Bratwurst prices

Jessica Ware · 24 Feb 2012, 12:31

Published: 24 Feb 2012 12:31 GMT+01:00

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In shock news for Germans everywhere, the sausage industry is feeling the rising cost of importing sheep intestines from Iran, leading Nürnberger Bratwurst producer Claus Steiner told The Local on Friday.

Sheep intestinal lining – a key ingredient in making the sausage – is largely imported from Iran, which has a 500-year history of trading animal by-products. But this may change, as the price of sheep gut has almost tripled in the past 18 months.

A year and a half ago 90 metres of intestinal lining, enough to encase about 1,000 delicious bratwursts, cost just €6.30. But now the same length costs a whopping €17.20 - an alarming price hike that sausage-loving Germans may feel come barbecue season.

“There’s no replacement for a Nürnberger Bratwurst,” said Steiner, owner of the successful self-named butcher's chain.

The Nürnberger is a traditional German delicacy made of finely ground pork, cased in intestinal lining and seasoned with marjoram. By European Union regulations, it can only be called a Nürnberger Bratwurst if it's made in the Nuremberg area – like Parma ham, or champagne.

“I don’t think customers will stop buying them, and we’re not expecting a loss in sales. They will just be a little more expensive,” said Steiner.

He explained that the price increase is not only down to heated political relations between the two countries, but a global decrease in the sale of meat products.

“Sheep intestinal lining is a by-product, not a reason a sheep is slaughtered.” Steiner said. “So if less people are buying meat, less sheep are being killed and less lining is available.”

Though meat trade is decreasing worldwide, Iran has experienced a swell in demand for intestinal lining from China, which until recently had very little demand for animal guts.

Story continues below…

With Iranian intestines at a premium, Steiner is looking into importing from other countries such as Egypt, which also exports sausage casing.

“Another option is pig lining, but the taste is just not comparable to sheep,” he said.

Jessica Ware (jessica.ware@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:07 February 24, 2012 by anurag_bagaria
If the cost of this raw material has gone up from EUR 6 to EUR 18 for a 1000 piece bratwursts, this means the cost of raw material per piece is still under 2 cents, while earlier it was a little more than half CENT. It's difficult to think that this would actually effect the retail price on sale of individual pieces of Bratwurst.
15:21 February 24, 2012 by finanzdoktor
@anurag_bagaria: Good analysis and viewpoint, but you forgot to add the expected profit return which will also be passed on to the consumer. What, maybe 100% to 200%, or more, times the number of bratwurst the normal consumer purchases,.........begins to add up.
16:03 February 24, 2012 by Civical
Try getting your sheep intestines from Wales, they have lots of sheep. No idea what they use them for at the moment.
16:17 February 24, 2012 by Beachrider
OK, I know that it is Friday and this is now Lent, but that lipsticked person is being quite delicate in the treatment of breakfast.

Just my two cents worth...
16:38 February 24, 2012 by RedLeg6
I'm sure there are plenty of sheep intestines available from Great Britain, Australia, or the U.S. What's the big deal with Iranian ones?
18:21 February 24, 2012 by Englishted

Me I don't want Israel wiped of the map ,you sound like the president of Iran yourself with that comment .

Plus :

"I think it's time, long overdue even, for the US to do a Dresden bombing on Afghanistan and get the hell out. There's nothing of value over there. "

From another article .

These two sum up the kind of person you are and I and many in Europe are glad you reside in the U.S.A. and I feel sorry for them there.
18:22 February 24, 2012 by MikeJarosz
Carlm says "President Downgrade here in the US certainly wouldn't lose any sleep if it happened."

But he would lose the election...
19:39 February 24, 2012 by raandy
Beachrider Ya , I agree and kind of came to the same conclusion that this was more than about sausage, not the best way to portray the issue.
19:56 February 24, 2012 by derExDeutsche
@ carlm

Bravo! Well said.
21:02 February 24, 2012 by catjones
It takes guts to switch suppliers.
21:37 February 24, 2012 by carlm
Englishted, thanks for the compliments.
21:48 February 24, 2012 by McM
Wurst posts I have read in along while. You are being weeny bit thin skinned over the issue me thinks.
09:55 February 25, 2012 by Yah right
Carlm's is the poster boy for all the stupid right wing American zealots who are nothing but greedy, self serving righteous b@stards. Intensely angry and bitter, in-your-face provacateurs who are intent upon destroying any semblance of civility that may have existed in the US.

They know it all and believe that they have GOD n their side of any issue. They are scared freaks of nature, too stupid and arrogant to understand how intensely pathetic, yet dangerous they are.

If you want to see what type of corporate mentality exists in carlm's country just go to you tube and find the video about abusive corporate dairy operations in the US. It is disgusting. Yet carlm calls the American way "doing the best you can with what you have.". They believe in destroying the ground water with the practice of fracking
11:38 February 25, 2012 by blackboot11
"Sheep intestinal lining ­ a key ingredient in making the Nürnberger Bratwurst...

a traditional German delicacy..."

well, its not very "authentic German" if the ingredients come from Iran now is it?

Such a ridiculous argument as the basis for this article.... LOL!
15:07 February 25, 2012 by Englishted
@Yah right

That is as maybe but I think he is a knob.
21:00 February 25, 2012 by Elderking
Those intestine casings will be Halal - from animals slaughtered in a mediaeval religious ceremony.

Don't buy them..
14:32 February 26, 2012 by LiberalGuy

Funny. But you are showing your age by calling him a knob. I haven't heard that since high school
20:29 February 27, 2012 by Englishted

But are you sure it means the same thing?

E.G. Fanny does not mean the same in English as in the U.S.A .

So I will clear it up he is a pric# , better?
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